Mastercard has reportedly forced funding platform Patreon to kick conservative author and “Jihad Watch” owner Robert Spencer off its site.
“My name is April and I’m on the Trust & Safety team here at Patreon. I’ve been notified by Mastercard that we must remove your account from Patreon, effective immediately,” wrote Patreon in an email to Spencer. “Mastercard has a stricter set of rules and regulations than Patreon, and they reserve the right to not offer their services to accounts of their choosing. This is in line with their terms of service, which means it’s something we have to comply by.”
“I have paid out your remaining creator balance of $475.22 to you via direct deposit,” the company continued. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this might cause.”
Despite this, Spencer claimed he doesn’t use Mastercard and didn’t have a Mastercard attached to the Patreon account.
Hey, we've been emailing with Robert today to explain the situation as unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove his account. We will continue to email with him if he has further questions.
— Patreon (@Patreon) August 15, 2018
Also, @Patreon, be honest, please. You haven’t “been emailing” with me. You sent me one email saying that MasterCard wouldn’t work with me, which was weird since I don’t have a MasterCard. No explanation was offered. When I asked for one, you didn’t answer. That’s not “emailing.”
— Robert Spencer (@jihadwatchRS) August 15, 2018
“I’d been given no warning before this of anything amiss with my account… so what violated their rules? They hadn’t explained,” Spencer declared, adding that Patreon “never explained why MasterCard objected to my account or why they had to comply with MasterCard’s wishes, and didn’t answer my request for an explanation.”
“I don’t have a MasterCard and didn’t have one attached to my Patreon account, so MasterCard really wasn’t involved,” he explained. “Unless it owns Patreon, which is apparently the case.”
Spencer noted that he could have been shut down due to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listing him on its “extremist files” for criticizing Islam. Spencer’s Jihad Watch website is a strong critic of Islamic extremism. According to the site, “Why Jihad Watch? Because non-Muslims in the West, as well as in India, China, Russia, and the world over, are facing a concerted effort by Islamic jihadists, the motives and goals of whom are largely ignored by the Western media, to destroy their societies and impose Islamic law upon them — and to commit violence to that end even while their overall goal remains out of reach. That effort goes under the general rubric of jihad.”
Patreon has previously banned conservative author Lauren Southern and commentator Brittany Pettibone.
Spencer believes his removal from Patreon is part of a larger trend. He told Breitbart News “This seems to me to be all part of the general attempt to silence all dissenting voices and leave only Leftists speaking in the runup to the 2018 elections.”
In July, Breitbart Tech senior reporter Allum Bokhari warned that a growing number of conservatives and dissidents would soon be banned from financial services, such as Patreon, PayPal, and Stripe.
“The creeping exclusion of the right from online platforms like Twitter and Facebook is well-known, drawing the attention of Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and the RNC. But a greater challenge is on the horizon: the exclusion of the right from financial services,” Bokhari expressed. “As the left prepares for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election, they want to ensure that only they have access to that tremendous power.”
“And with PayPal and Stripe withdrawing support from politically neutral fundraising platforms, they are well on their way to achieving that aim,” he concluded. “Like the social media purges, this represents an existential threat to the conservative and pro-Trump movement.”
Update — A Mastercard spokesperson responded to a Breitbart News request for comment with the following statement. “As part of our normal process, we share information about websites that may have illegal content with the acquirer – or merchant’s bank – that connects them to our network to accept card payments. The acquirer would then review the site for compliance with legal requirements and our standards. They would then determine what action to take. In this case, the acquirer advised us that they decided to terminate acceptance.”