Opinion/Commentary Uncategorized

Patreon defends Sargon of Akkad ban

Patreon home page

Patreon responded to backlash after banning YouTuber, Sargon of Akkad (Carl Benjamin).

Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson posted screenshots of Patreon’s defence of Benjamin’s ban on Twitter.

Jordan Peterson shares Patreon’s statement amid backlash after Sargon of Akkad ban

The above explanation from Patreon begins by reinforcing its condemnation of hate speech. (which is stated in their Community Guidelines. They allege that Akkad used racial and homophobic slurs when addressing the group.

After reading the statement, here is my conclusion. While Akkad used slurs against white supremacists (and, quite possibly homophobes, too), in using the slurs, Akkad, possibly unintentionally reinforced the idea that people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community are inferior.

Was Sargon of Akkad really guilty of hate speech?

When I first heard about Akaad’s ban, the exact reason why wasn’t clear to me. Now that I know a little context, here is my take. If Akkad was expressong agreement with the white supremacists, then yes, that would be appalling. However, if the statements were ironic and Akkad was simply using their bigotry against the white supremacists, then Patreon jumped the gun.

Should Akkad have had his account pulled?

Should’ve Patreon shut down Sargon of Akkad? Here’s why it’s a concern. Free speech aside, Patreon has become a way in which independent vloggers, artists and writers, etc can potentially make a living from their work. So, the question becomes, does Patreon have the right to cut a revenue stream from one of their creators? Therefore, the question becomes, a person’s career be thrown under the bus ecause of one piece of content when the intention is questionable?

Wouldn’t it be better to let patrons protest by pulling their support? Honestly, I think it’d be a better way.

Aside from potential patrons, as I said in a previous post, one thing I’ve comw to admire about the U.S. is how their First Amendment has created a culture of debate, especially on YouTube. I have no doubt that Kyle Kulinski or The Young Turks or David Pakman would smack down any bigoted or otherwise outrageous claims.

Backlash against Patreon continues

A number of Patreon creators have revolted and voluntarily closed down their accounts in revolt. Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson have left Patreon and used other means of raising revenue, such as Bitcoin.

Will this controversy cause Patreon to backtrack, like they did after introducing fees? Only time will tell.

Psssst. Self promotion alert! If you like my blog, you can support me on Patreon. You will be acknowledged and thanked on a future post. 😀

Red Symons Racist? Probably not. Controversial? Hell, yes.

This week, former guitarist and ‘Hey, hey, it’s Saturday’ regular, Red Symons came under fire for “What’s the deal with Asians?” podcast interview on ABC’s Radio National with Beverley Wang, who is Canadian of Taiwanese descent. I didn’t hear the interview (an Andrew O’Keeffe trick, ha!), but from what I read here, it seemed nothing more than satire.

I agree with Andrew Bolt in that calling Wang “yellow” was quite crass and unnecessary. Then again, Symons is well – known for controversy and crassness. I grew up watching him on “Hey, Hey It’s Saturday” back in the early 1990’s. He was a panellist on “Red Faces”, a skit where Symons and other panellists ‘judged’ performances. Red Symons was the ‘bad guy’, well and truly. And some people thought Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson and Kyle Sandilands were bad on Australian Idol! Sheesh!

Back in the 1970’s, Symons was one of the guitarists in Melbourne – based band, Skyhooks. They were controversial. They caused such a stir that in 1974 due to their provocative lyrics that fours songs from their debut album ‘Living in the ’70’s’ were banned from commercial airplay.

Skyhooks' 1990 'Latest and Greatest'
Skyhooks’ 1990 ‘Latest and Greatest which features two songs that were banned from airplay in 1974.


Did they mean any harm? Probably not. It was just satire. Biting satire, offensive satire, but none the less, satire.

With this particular interview, I get race, migration and in particular, boat people are sensitive topics, especially given the ongoing controversy of Nauru and Manus Island, plus the ongoing debate of our refugee intake.  Since then, Symons has apologised and the ABC has deleted the interview from its website.

I hope this is as far as it goes. I do think as a society we do need to be careful, both of what we expect from artists, but I do think it’s important that everyone in the public eye or with a wide platform (myself included), need to be careful not to cause harm to the people we talk/ write/ joke about. It’s a real balancing act.

Did you hear the podcast? Did you think it was offensive?