PayPal Relents and Apologizes to Pamela Geller
On Friday, Pamela Geller received word her PayPal account for her website Atlas Shrugs had been restricted. The reason? She was told she had violated PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy and was promoting hate.
"... [A]fter a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are 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," the email read in part.
"After five years of having PayPal on my site I received notification Friday restricting my website," Geller said in a telephone interview Monday. "This came out of nowhere."
In the meantime, as PJM's Richard Fernandez reported earlier, Revolution Muslim was still being served by PayPal. Revolution Muslim is a site which, among other things, called for the murder of South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone for depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a bear suit and has a picture of President Barack Obama as Adolf Hitler.
"I got called a hate site and yet Revolution Muslim threatens death to the Comedy Central producers and they still take PayPal," she said. Geller added that the DVDs of Imam Anwar al Awlaki, a jihadist cleric who has been linked to Major Nidal Hasan, the alleged Ft. Hood shooter, are for sale on eBay and can be purchased using PayPal.
"If the real killers can take PayPal then what's the point of the hate site designation?" Geller asked. Her two other sites were likewise restricted and faced termination of their PayPal accounts. Those sites are for her two nonprofit organizations, Stop the Islamization of America and the Freedom Defense Initiative.
On Monday, after what Geller says was a storm of protest, PayPal backed down.
Geller said she received a phone call from PayPal early Monday morning informing her it had all been a "misunderstanding."
"They called me back and said it was a misunderstanding and we're all good," Geller said. "They obviously received an overwhelming response."
"I have a pretty big soap box, but what are the little guys supposed to do?"
Geller said she believes the "hate site" designation was the result of a series of bus ads her organizations ran in New York City and Miami, Fla., which promoted the website RefugefromIslam.com. Geller said the ads were in response to a series of bus advertisements she saw in Florida while covering the story of Rifqa Bary, the teenage Muslim girl who converted to Christianity and said she was afraid her family would kill her.
Geller said the ads were not intended to be offensive but to give those converting information about help they could find if they felt they were in danger.
"I think it was Islamist supremacists who reported it as (a hate site)," Geller said. "They wanted to turn off the spigot (of donations)."
Geller said the ad buys were paid for by small donations of $18 to $50 by visitors to her site.
"Honestly I have been interviewed intensively for the last two weeks (by major news outlets)," Geller said. "It apparently was offensive to Muslims. I don't believe that, I don't believe Muslim Americans don't believe in religious freedom."
Regardless, Geller said she believes she won a victory.
"It is a victory that they came back crawling," she said, adding she will no longer be using PayPal, but a similar service called GPal.
"Apparently some disenfranchised PayPalers started the site and promote Second Amendment issues," she said, adding she'd received several recommendations about the service over the weekend.
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.
PJM also made multiple attempts to contact former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who is running on the Republican ticket for governor of California. PayPal is owned by eBay.