Crowdfunding platform Patreon sought to defend itself Monday night amid a brewing controversy among some users and patrons of the website who were calling for a boycott following the ban of popular anti-feminist YouTuber Carl Benjamin AKA Sargon of Akkad.
Seeking to further justify the ban of Benjamin, which users boycotting the platform claimed was based in “political bias,” Patreon published the transcript of the video it said the company its decision on. Patreon said the segment fit its definition of hate speech, which the platform bans. Reading the transcript, it clearly violated Patreon’s definition of hate speech, which it says “includes serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, of people based on their race [and] sexual orientation.”
In a conversation published in February on the Dutch right-wing YouTube account Michelle Catlin, Benjamin said the following of the alt-right, who he opposes:
I just can’t be bothered with people who chose to treat me like this. It’s really annoying. Like, I — . You’re acting like a bunch of n******, just so you know. You act like white n******… Look, you carry on, but don’t expect me to then have a debate with one of your f******.…Like why would I bother?…Maybe you’re just acting like a n****r, mate? Have you considered that? Do you think white people act like this? White people are meant to be polite and respectful to one another, and you guys can’t even act like white people, it’s really amazing to me.”
Business Insider has verified the existence of the video, which was still up on YouTube at the time of this writing, and the quotes referenced.
Notably, the conversation was not on Patreon’s own platform. In its blog post, Patreon explained, “As a funding platform, we don’t host much content, but we help fund creations across the internet. As a result, we review creations posted on other platforms that are funded through Patreon. Sargon is well known for his collaborations with other creators and so we apply our community guidelines to those collaborations, including this interview.”
In the last 48 hours, two of Patreon’s largest creators, author and podcaster Sam Harris and Canadian college professor Jordan Peterson, made major movements against the platform in retaliation for its decision against Benjamin, which they said were based on politics.
On Sunday evening, Harris, who occupies the same constellation of controversial thinkers as Peterson — described as the “Intellectual Dark Web”— became one of the largest figures to rebel against the platform. Harris announced on Twitter that he was leaving Patreon as a result of the platforms “political bias.”
Both had lost significant portions of their followings in the last week as users left the platform following Benjamin’s ban, which they portrayed as undue censorship.
The new revelation provides concrete evidence that Benjamin had indeed violated Patreon’s hate-speech policy on another platform.
Neither Peterson nor Harris immediately responded when asked for their response on the new evidence around Benjamin’s ban.