Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer Announces Forthcoming Lawsuit Over Patreon Account Removal
On Monday, Jihad Watch founder Robert Spencer told PJ Media that his Patreon account is still closed, but that he will shortly be filing a lawsuit against the company. Patreon, an online membership platform that allows patrons to financially support content creators, had closed Spencer's account last week without warning, claiming that the credit card company Mastercard demanded it.
PJ Media asked Spencer if his account is still closed.
"Yes, it's still closed, but they will soon be hearing from attorneys," Spencer, a bestselling author of 16 books and founder of the Islamist watchdog site Jihad Watch, told PJ Media. His most recent book, "A History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS," was released this week and is the number 1 bestseller in Muhammad and Islam on Amazon.com.
The Jihad Watch founder told the story of his account's deletion on his Islamist watchdog website. A few weeks ago, Spencer set up a Patreon account, enabling supporters to financially support his production of videos for Jihad Watch using a working TV studio. Last Tuesday, a Patreon representative named April reached out to Spencer, notifying him that his account had been closed.
"I've been notified by Mastercard that we must remove your account from Patreon, effective immediately," April, who identified herself as part of the Trust & Safety team at Patreon, told Spencer in an email.
"Mastercard has a stricter set of rules and regulations than Patreon, and they reserve the right to not offer their services to accounts of their choosing," she added. "This is in line with their terms of service, which means it’s something we have to comply by."
April sent Spencer the remaining balance of $475.22, and apologized "for the inconvenience and frustration this might cause."
"I'd been given no warning before this of anything amiss with my account, which at the time consisted of that single video announcing the initiative, along with a note announcing that I would be starting a livestream," Spencer reported. "So what had violated their rules? They hadn't explained."
Not only was Spencer's profile as a Patreon creator erased, but his profile on the site in general had been suspended.
The Jihad Watch founder responded to April, adding, "I see my account was also disabled. Explanation, please." He received no answer via email, but Patreon's official Twitter account responded to his article on the story.
"Hi Robert, we emailed you earlier today which explained that unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove your account. You replied to us but if you have further questions we're happy to keep emailing," the account tweeted.