On the 6th of January, I will be deleting my Patreon account. I am not doing this immediately because I want my patrons to have a certain amount of notice.
Given the revelations produced by Matt Christiansen regarding his conversation with the head of Patreon's "trust and safety" team Jacqueline Hart, I no longer trust Patreon, nor do I feel safe here.
Despite Subscribestar being crippled by Paypal (who dominate more than 70% of the US payment processing market and who, incidentally, Ms. Hart used to work for), I cannot continue lining the pockets of a company whose rules are not universal and which somehow prides themselves on having an "individual" manner of applying them.
In Matt's conversation with Ms. Hart, it was revealed that had Carl Benjamin only grovelled enough, had he only given a "full-throated" apology for his statements, rather than focussing on defending the context and genuine meaning of his words--which even she admitted was calling out racists on their racism--she would have reinstated him.
I'm sorry, but that's not good enough. Particularly since they never actually directly contacted Carl to either put him on notice before his account was deleted, nor afterward to let him know what particular action would get him out of the gulag.
More than this, she implied that Patreon is only complying with the requirements of payment processors and credit card companies.
Speaking as someone with unpopular opinions and a salty tongue, who sometimes describes herself as "Chief Executive Misogynist for Patriarchy Inc", I'm not safe here.
I'm also not safe at Subscribestar, since both Paypal and Stripe have indicated they're not going to do business with them.
I hold Subscribestar blameless in this, and I would encourage any American citizen reading this who cares about these issues to contact the Federal Trade Commission regarding a potential violation of anti-trust laws.
It's entirely possible that Ms. Hart, in trying to staunch the hemorrhaging of creators and patrons from this platform (some estimate Patreon has suffered a 20% loss of revenue since this unpopular decision) reached out to her old bosses at Paypal to help take down the only viable competitor to the platform she so spectacularly damaged through her actions.
It's also possible that Visa and Mastercard are engaging in an illegal "refusal to deal" with companies who give a platform to people whose political opinions or choice of words don't comply with their own.
*If* either of these is the case--Paypal and Patreon conspiring to eliminate Patreon's competition, or credit card companies that enjoy a comfortable monopoly refusing to do business with certain entities for no good reason--there is a valid anti-trust concern that merits investigation. I have written to Senator Ted Cruz, who used to be director of policy planning at the FTC, to explain the details of the case and ask him to consider applying pressure on his former colleagues to look into the situation.
Section 230 of the CDA gives these platforms blanket immunity regarding what and who they publish and what and who they remove. There is no existing law that can hold Patreon accountable for what it's done to Carl Benjamin. But there MAY BE laws that will hold Patreon, payment processors and/or credit card companies accountable for what they've done to Subscribestar, and what they will surely continue to do with any viable alternative to Patreon that offers a platform to people with unpopular opinions.
For now, my Paypal account is functional and people can support me through that either through a monthly payment or a one-time donation. The link is on my YouTube channel, and I will let everyone know immediately should that change. Anyone in Canada can support me via Interac email money transfer to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. And I have a personalized tip jar at https://www.feedthebadger.com/product/tip-karen/
And as soon as a viable alternative platform is available I'll be on there like a monkey on a cupcake and will shout it from the rooftops.
For now, I hope everyone is able to have a wonderful holiday season despite all the upheaval and uncertainty. Take joy in the little things, like the sound of two dogs gnawing meaty prime rib bones instead of each other. And I'll see you all when and where I see you.
Hugs to everyone over the holidays,