Last Friday, the PayPal accounts for my blog AtlasShrugs.com and my organizations Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI) were suddenly and without warning “restricted.” After a recent review of my account, Paypal said that it had been “determined” that I was “currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.”
Hate? Violence? Racial intolerance? Financial exploitation of a crime? SIOA is an advocacy group devoted to defending the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and the equality of rights of all people. Atlas Shrugs is a news site and a political blog. I am not responsible for the bad news in the world. I just report on it.
I posted this news at Atlas Shrugs over the weekend and received over a thousand letters of support, along with hundreds of ccs of PayPal account cancellations. The people spoke! I love that.
And so on Monday, a very pleasant and rather deliberately clueless executive named Leslie called me from PayPal to say it was all a big misunderstanding and Atlas would be reinstated (and the subsequent restriction of SIOA and FDI removed also).
Not so fast, Leslie.
I asked her why I had been singled out and who designated me as a hate speech site, and on what basis? Why was Revolution Muslim (which threatened to murder the producers of Comedy Central) allowed to carry a PayPal button on its site? Why were DVDs of the jihadist Imam Anwar al-Awlaki sold at eBay, which owns PayPal? Richard Fernandez of Belmont Club commented:
Now PayPal may have reasons of its own for allowing one and not the other. For considering Pamela beyond the pale but showing consideration for a site whose voiceover, when you get it to it, extols the virtues of sharia law and the desirability of giving your spare wife to a Muslim Brother, and portrays the president in the likeness of the Great Dictator. Who knows but some might agree?
Leslie said she was “unaware of a hate speech designation and would inquire and call me back.”
And so she did.
She said that Atlas Shrugs was mistakenly designated as a hate site while it was “in review.” I then asked her why Atlas Shrugs was “in review” in the first place — PayPal has been linked at Atlas Shrugs since 2005. She did not have an answer. I asked her what recourse smaller websites had, as this is my real concern. My soapbox is pretty big, but what about small blogs? I told Leslie that reinstating me was not good enough. If a site is designated a “hate site,” who decides? Once designated, you have two choices — lose PayPal, or change content. Unfair, mon frere.
Leslie agreed. She said she was going to recommend a third choice, so that one could contest the “hate site” designation before a mandatory choice had to be made of either signing off of PayPal or changing content.
Frankly, I find this weak. PayPal should remove the “hate” designation altogether. If they are going to allow jihadis to raise dough using PayPal, what’s the point of any hate speech designation, anyway?
PayPal seems to know their position is weak, too. Patrick Richardson did a story on this for Pajamas Media, and he reported that:
PJM made repeated requests for comment to PayPal which were not returned. In fact, we were given a non-working phone number as the number for a spokesperson.
It is a victory that they came back crawling, but needless to say, I am not going back to PayPal. I told Leslie that, too. She wished I would reconsider. But no. I am sticking with GPal — the G stands for guns!
The real story is that we stood up, and the weasels backed down. We will fight each battle this way. We will not let them stigmatize us for standing up against Islamic supremacism and its war against free speech and free people.
Hate speech? It’s love speech, baby.