Two prominent members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web are considering drastic action after popular crowdfunding platform Patreon removed a slew of conservative accounts over speech issues.
Noted author Jordan Peterson and podcaster Sam Harris are striking back after Patreon removed popular YouTuber Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad.
Peterson, a clinical psychologist by trade, is brainstorming alternatives to the site, while Harris deleted his account entirely.
“We’ve been engaged in lengthy series of email exchanges with all of the people in our network, and no one is happy at all with what’s been happening,” Peterson said in a video released Sunday. “We’ve been determining what our options are. We looked at Subscribe Star, but it looks like PayPal decided to cut funding out from them.”
— Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) December 16, 2018
Peterson and fellow YouTuber David Rubin discussed the kerfuffle at length.
Patreon decided to delete Benjamin’s account in early December after the company’s staff discovered a guest appearance he made on a small YouTube channel several months ago.
Benjamin was removed for a “violation of hate speech in our guidelines” after using “racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual,” a Patreon spokesman told Vice News on Dec. 7. He took a racist epithet some of his racist critics used against him and used it to refer to them.
In a display of unity with Peterson, Harris announced in a tweet Sunday night that he was ending his affiliation with the platform.
Harris, Peterson and Rubin are among a handful of social media commentators who make up what the media have termed the Intellectual Dark Web.
“As many of you know, the crowdfunding site Patreon has banned several prominent content creators from its platform,” said Harris, a liberal neuroscientist who supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential run in 2016.
He criticized Patreon’s decision to remove Benjamin and a handful of other accounts associated with other conservative firebrands.
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) December 17, 2018
“While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias,” Harris said. “Although I don’t share the politics of the banned members, I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s ‘Trust and Safety’ committee.”
Peterson, for his part, is a die-hard free speech advocate, despite having targeted some critics with lawsuits.
He alleged in June that faculty at Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University defamed him when they dressed-down a teaching assistant for showing a video of Peterson debating gender-neutral pronouns with an opponent.
Peterson gained fame during the past two years partially because of his criticisms of political correctness. He has also been critical of global warming alarmism, and earlier in 2018 he said “you can’t trust the data” because of the politicization in climate science.
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