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David Horowitz Wins Credit Card Donation Showdown, Credits Breitbart, Drudge

Mastercard Worldpay David Horowitz
Getty/Mike Clarke
LUCAS NOLAN

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has had its ability to accept credit card donations restored after the initial decision to financially blacklist the organization was made by payment processor Worldpay allegedly at the request of Mastercard. Horowitz credits Breitbart News and the Drudge Report for bringing attention to the story on Friday.

On Friday, Breitbart News reported that the David Horowitz Freedom Center lost its ability to accept donations by Visa and Mastercard credit cards following a campaign by the SPLC and Color of Change to label the Freedom Center as a hate group. This blacklisting came shortly after Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch was forced off the funding platform Patreon following pressure from Mastercard. In a reversal by payment processor Worldpay, the Freedom Center’s ability to process credit card transactions has been reinstated following coverage of the story by Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and a large number of other conservative media outlets.

Breitbart News’ investigation into the story uncovered communications allegedly between Mastercard and Worldpay which indicated the David Horowitz Freedom Center “may be advocating for violence.” It also referenced the website bloodmoney.org, which is published by far-left pressure group Color of Change. Breitbart News has reached out to Mastercard for comment on this story and about the credit card giant’s relationship with the SPLC and Color of Change.

While the Freedom Center was preparing for a legal battle with Mastercard and Worldpay, following coverage by Breitbart News, the Drudge Report, and other conservative outlets, WorldPay restored the Freedom Center’s ability to accept donations.

A Worldpay spokesperson told Breitbart News in a statement:

Recently, we became aware of some merchants that had processing services inadvertently disabled without the proper internal reviews. Which was the case in this situation. These merchants have had or are in the process of having their services re-enabled.

After the publication of this story, Mastercard responded to Breitbart News with the following statement:

We understand that the acquirer — the merchant’s bank — has reinstated acceptance. As part of our normal process, the acquirer reviews each case to determine what action to take.

David Horowitz commented on the decision by Worldpay to restore the Freedom Center’s payment processing for Visa and Mastercard donations, stating:

Why this reversal? We believe it was due to the massive support we received across the Internet when the story broke, starting with Breitbart and then picked up by the Drudge Report. Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, OAN, The Daily Caller, Ricochet, Crowder, Gateway Pundit, Volnation, Canada Free Press and a host of other sites, who correctly reported this attack on us as an attack on freedom of speech itself and a calculated effort by networked organizations of the left to pressure corporations like Mastercard and Visa to collaborate in their determined effort to erase conservatism from our national political dialogue.

It was initially reported that Visa had blocked the Freedom Center’s ability to receive payments as well, but it appears that Worldpay’s decision at the behest of Mastercard to shut off payment processing access to the Freedom Center may have resulted in Visa cards being denied as well, without Visa specifically requesting this action. When contacted by Breitbart News, a Visa spokesperson provided the following statement:

Visa does not have direct relationships with merchants or websites that accept Visa payments. We require the merchant’s bank to know their customers and ensure that only legal transactions are submitted to the Visa network.  The merchant’s banks may also have their own Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) governing their merchant relationship.

David Horowitz reached out to Breitbart News with an exclusive statement on the events of the past week, which can be read in full below:

Here is what happened.  Last Tuesday the Freedom Center was informed by WorldPay, which handles its online donations, that Mastercard would no longer complete  transactions for the Freedom Center because it had been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a similarly leftist organization  called ColorofChange.org. This is what we were told by MasterCard: “The organization Color of Change has published an updated website named bloodmoney.org and within it has listed a number of merchants that purport to accept Mastercard and have content which is hateful in nature. .. [and] which may be advocating for violence. We have identified the sites below as belonging to your institution…”

Just as in Alice in Wonderland: the verdict before the trial. The Freedom Center was judged guilty of “hate crimes” without a chance to protest and its online fundraising was blocked.  Because on line fundraising is the lifeblood of our organization, this was an existential threat to our future.  We were mobilizing for a costly legal proceeding against Mastercard when, on Friday afternoon, four days after the attempt to destroy us, WorldPay and MasterCard backed down and informed us they were restoring our online services and donations.
Why this reversal? We believe it was due to the massive support we received across the Internet when the story broke, starting with Breitbart and then picked up by the Drudge Report. Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, OAN, The Daily Caller, Ricochet, Crowder, Gateway Pundit, Volnation, Canada Free Press and a host of other sites, who correctly reported this attack on us as an attack on freedom of speech itself and a calculated effort by networked organizations of the left to pressure corporations like Mastercard and Visa to collaborate in their determined effort to erase conservatism from our national political dialogue.

One thing we know for sure is that despite this defeat, the left will keep up the pressure and the same thing will happen again—if not to the Freedom Center then to other conservative organizations and individuals.  This effort to shut down conservatism’s ability to raise the funds that make its voice heard was not the result of an arbitrary decision by some politically correct middle manager at Mastercard.  It was a decision at the highest corporate levels and the result of an elaborate and carefully designed campaign by leftist to silence conservative voices on the Internet and therefore in America’s national dialogue. This campaign is masterminded by two George Soros-funded organizations– Media Matters, which has waged a holy war against conservatives in the media for two decades, and The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has managed to get itself taken seriously as an authority on “hate speech” and “hate groups” by a credulous and collaborative mainstream press.  Thus a sort of tape loop has been created in which the SPLC stigmatizes these groups by featuring them on its “hate maps,” associating  them with “neo fascism” and “racism” and putting them on the equivalent of Joseph McCarthy’s subversives list which the mainstream media then obligingly uses in its reporting and activist organizations like Color of Change and bloodmoney.org in lobbying corporations such as Mastercard and social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

There is a method in the madness of this Soros-funded network.  Its constituent parts collaborate in transforming the reasonable policy differences that are actually the health of a democracy  into dire examples  of racial hostility and hatred. Thus conservative concerns for federal immigration laws and secure borders become anti-immigrant bigotry and hateful racism. Thus the Freedom Center’s campaign against anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas university groups makes it not only a “hate group,”  according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, but its eponymous CEO  “the Godfather of the anti-Muslim movement in America.”  When these slanders are magnified by the reporting of a liberal press, it is little wonder a corporation like Mastercard feels like it might be next as a target who enables hate speech, and joins the fray.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has gotten away with this hatred masquerading as anti-hate for far too long. The SPLC recently paid a $3.4 million settlement to Majid Nawaz, a devout Muslim and also a fierce critic of Islamic terrorism after it labeled him an “anti-Muslim extremist.”  All the other dozens of conservative groups similarly slandered should be developing their own legal defense funds to go after this reckless and mendacious organization and its enemies list.  The David Horowitz Freedom Center certainly is.

While the Freedom Center is glad to have won this recent battle against the left’s effort to shut it down, as we’ve noted we believe the threat to free speech is greater than our particular case and also very much far from over. The enemies of free speech may have been rebuffed this time, but they feel that they have the winning hand and will continue to play it until America has become a one party state of the politically correct with conservative views ruthlessly suppressed.  Our own Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org  still has two of his funding pages shut down by MasterCard.  Just this past week, David Horowitz’s Twitter page was locked down for the better part of a day, until a direct appeal to Twitter ceo Jack Dorsey reversed the ban. Prager U. was suddenly disappeared from Facebook until protests cause it to relent. Alex Jones and InfoWars are still residing in the darkness imposed by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The censorship powers of Social Media are awesome and historically unprecedented. When they are amplified by the arbitrary financial power of corporations such as Mastercard and Visa, the result is a leviathan willing and able to  crush our basic freedoms and constitutional guarantees without a moment’s remorse. What those of us who care about free speech must do now is form a coalition across party lines and ideologies in defense of free speech. Freed speech is the most basic freedom we have because all our other freedoms are dependent on it. We may disagree with our coalition partners about everything under the sun, except this. The right to dissent and to disagree is what separates us from countries in which civil wars and coup d’etats are commonplace. Private corporations cannot be the arbiters of free speech.  Ben Wizner, the head of the ACLU’s Free Speech and Technology Project, said exactly that only this week. His sentiment was repeated word for word by the conservative Federalist site. Liberty Counsel is organizing a coalition of 60 mainly religious organizations who have been slandered as “hate groups” by the venomous SPLC (SPLC: Hate Machine – https://www.frontpagemag.com/search/site/SpLC). We must contact our representatives and call for a Congressional investigation of the war the left has launched on our freedom to dissent and disagree. If we cannot preserve freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, we cannot defend any of our freedoms, and we will have lost everything.

Breitbart News contacted Mastercard for comment on this story but has not received a reply.

Update — After the publication of this story, Mastercard responded to Breitbart News’ request for comment with the following statement: “We understand that the acquirer — the merchant’s bank — has reinstated acceptance. As part of our normal process, the acquirer reviews each case to determine what action to take.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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