Dr. Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin are set to leave crowdfunding platform Patreon on January 15 in protest over the company’s censorship of political commentators, including Carl Benjamin, known online as Sargon of Akkad.
In a video published on January 1, Peterson and Rubin set the date for their departure from Patreon, with Peterson claiming it was “unethical” to continue working with the platform.
“It’s not something I’m thrilled about by any stretch of the imagination so you and I have been talking for a couple of weeks now ever since this scandal around Carl Benjamin, or Sargon of Akkad, broke we decided a while back that we were going to do, well, a variety of things,” declared Peterson. “We’re going to announce our departure from Patreon, which is what we’re doing in this video. I’m going to leave Patreon January 15th.”
Rubin then added, “I also am going to leave Patreon on January 15th, which by the way, we should be clear, this is not something that we wanted to do. We were both perfectly happy on Patreon. Patreon, at least for me, it’s been the backbone of my show. I mean that’s somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of our funding is through Patreon, so this not something we wanted to do.”
“The implication was, oh we’re doing this for money, but it’s like, we’re taking a major hit right now and opening ourselves up to all sorts of risks, so I’m going ahead and doing that because I believe we can do something better,” he continued. “We’ve got to figure out exactly what that is, and that’s what we’re working on.”
Peterson then proclaimed, “I’m not happy in the least with what has happened. I have thought about it a lot, and believe that given Patreon’s proclivity to censor and the reasons that they’re doing it, especially as I’ve looked more and more deeply into the reasons… I’ve become increasingly convinced that it’s unethical to continue my association with the company.”
Peterson and Rubin previously expressed interest in creating their own alternative to Patreon, and claimed to still be working on it in their most recent video.
In December, author Sam Harris, who was the eleventh most popular user on the platform, also left Patreon in protest over its censorship.
“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. “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.”
Podcast Sword and Scale, the “fifth largest content creator” on Patreon, also expressed interest in leaving the platform for Peterson and Rubin’s planned alternative.
As the fifth largest content creator on @Patreon, we do not feel the policing of speech should be part of the business model.
— Sword & Scale (@SwordAndScale) December 18, 2018
So many users have left Patreon in protest over its censorship that many content creators have reported losses of thousands of financial backers on the platform.