Popular author Sam Harris has closed his Patreon account in protest over the company’s recent censorship of political commentators.
“As many of you know, the crowdfunding site Patreon has banned several prominent content creators from its platform. While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seems more readily explained by political bias,” declared Harris in his statement. “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. I will be deleting my Patreon account tomorrow.”
Harris then directed his followers to support him on his website instead, where users can donate, and his statement received over 23,000 likes.
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) December 17, 2018
Other Patreon users also deleted their accounts, including Patrons and content creators.
Fix your platform's attitude, or you'll wither & die. #BoycottPatreon
For more on the problem, see https://t.co/xU2R7EU9kP
— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) December 17, 2018
Despite Patreon’s purge of several notable conservative and libertarian accounts, including Sargon of Akkad, Robert Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Brittany Pettibone, the platform has reportedly allowed left-wing extremists to raise money on the site while calling for violence.
“Research by Far Left Watch, which monitors left-wing extremism, found numerous examples of pro-violence left wing groups and individuals that have active Patreon accounts,” reported Breitbart Tech Senior Reporter Allum Bokhari on Saturday. “Because Patreon takes a cut from donations processed via the platform, the crowdfunding site directly profits from these pro-violence accounts.”
In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a liberal digital rights nonprofit organization, claimed payment processing services were becoming the “de facto internet censors.”
“EFF is deeply concerned that payment processors are making choices about which websites can and can’t accept payments or process donations,” expressed a spokesman for the organization. “This can have a huge impact on what types of speech are allowed to flourish online.”