Two alternative crowdfunding sites and one YouTube alternative start-up were effectively shuttered over the weekend by Stripe, a payment processing company. Freestartr, a free speech answer to Patreon, where conservatives like Laura Southern have been discriminated against; Bitchute, a YouTube alternative that grew to popularity after YouTube deleted or demonetized conservative channels; and MakerSupport, a fundraising platform also in competition with Patreon, were all affected. All of these platforms are very clear about staying neutral and allowing all speech on their platforms regardless of politics. The MakerSupport website reads, “MakerSupport is a platform for creators, by creators. Finally, crowdfunding is simple! We believe that creators of all stripes should be able to earn a living doing what they love.” Each alternative site is dedicated to providing space for anyone.
The Daily Stormer, a racist blog that most people agree should be ignored, was deleted by Google for ideological reasons. We’ve gone from a country that used to believe in defending offensive speech to a society that demands offensive speech be silenced by any means necessary. But silencing racists at The Daily Stormer is not where it ends.
“The demand for Nazis or racists vastly exceeds their supply, so some people are caught up in the crossfire, sometimes literally in the case of the shooter who fired upon members of Congress and their staff playing baseball,” continued Johnson. Average conservative and libertarian voices are being targeted and silenced under the pretense that they are vile racists or “Nazis.”
“Every regime has scapegoats, and ours is no different. Whether you’ve participated in a Twitter mob and/or been its target, you know its power,” said Johnson. “This is not dissimilar from the ancient punishments of exile or death. To be fired from your job for your politics constitutes a kind of death; it is certainly a form of exile. This kind of tribalism terrorism will undoubtedly increase precisely because it is so effective at cowing the other side and the costs of the targeting are so cheap,” said Johnson, who has been called an online “troll.”
Johnson believes he was targeted for political reasons by Edwin Wee at Stripe. Wee’s professional history includes working on the campaigns of two prominent Democrats, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former congressman Joe Sestak.
His social media pages confirm his bias. Here he is retweeting Hillary Clinton campaign ads and getting excited about Hillary in the White House on Twitter and Instagram.
— XKCD Comic (@xkcdComic) November 7, 2016
This tweet shows his close connection to the DNC
— edwin 👨💻 (@edwinwee) July 26, 2016
Attempts by PJM to reach Wee for comment went unanswered.
Twitter mobs targeted Freestartr as being a “racist” organization that was supporting “Nazis” and tried to get Stripe to drop them as a partner.
— Daniel Jones (@DaniOnEarth) May 5, 2018
Johnson believes he was targeted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which continually defames innocent people as “racists.” Just recently the SPLC was ordered to pay damages to Maajid Nawaz, an Islamic reformer they claimed was an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
“The SPLC announced Monday that it has agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam $3.375 million ‘to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism.’ The settlement was the result of a lawsuit Nawaz filed in April over his inclusion on the SPLC’s “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” Jack Crowe wrote at National Review.
Stripe claimed in their notice of cancelation to Bitchute founder Ray Vahey that it was their “financial partners” who objected to Bitchute’s business model. “We are politically neutral, and have many creators from across the political spectrum,” Vahey told PJM. “Our site is still operational in terms of video streaming, but we have not been able to accept money since the Stripe termination,” he explained. “They gave us only 5 days notice, even though our account was in good standing and we had not broken any of their rules or laws or even had any customer complaints.”
The notice he received from Stripe was strange, filled with rambling excuses for termination with no specifics. Stripe employee “Gus” wrote:
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to overturn our decision regarding your account. Our financial partners have some fairly strict limitations on the type of businesses we can work with, and sadly your business type falls into a category which our financial partners consider to be high-risk. I’m truly sorry about that… this is a restriction imposed upon us directly from our financial partners, who use have [sic] an archaic and frankly antiquated view of non-traditional businesses.
Stripe refuses to say who the “financial partners” are. PJM also reached out to Stripe but received no response.
Update 5:12 p.m. EST: Charles Johnson vehemently denies being a Holocaust denier. “I am not, nor have I ever been a Holocaust denier. I am a strong supporter of both the state of Israel and the Jewish people,” he told PJM. “It’s awkward to have even to say this, but the #FakeNews is trying to smear me and hurt my friends and allies because I have worked tirelessly to expose the Russia collusion lie at great personal expense and to support candidates who want to release the memo.”