Patriots Not Welcome on Traditional Crowdfunding Sites
Veteran Navy SEAL Craig Sawyer explained in 2018, in an effort to raise money for his film ‘Contraband’, how he was blocked from service by crowdfunding websites such as gofundme.com and Paypal.
Sawyer was working with high-level federal law enforcers and intelligence workers to conduct his own independent research about elite pedophile rings. His investigation has led him to discover that top government officials and the leisure class routinely torture and kill young children during satanic rituals.
It was in 2018 when the filmmakers for the Roe v. Wade, a film that brings the real story of the landmark case that has led to tens of millions of babies being murdered before they ever see the light of day, was blocked from shares on Facebook.
Producer Alveda King explains, “This big screen movie is the real untold story of how mountains of lies led to an injustice that has deprived millions of people of human dignity and human rights.”
The Roe v. Wade team wrote on their page, “We need your support now more than ever. Facebook has banned us from inviting friends to ‘Like’ our page and from ‘Sharing’ our PAID ads.”
Executive Producer Nick Loeb said in a statement to Texas Right to Life, “I am disappointed that Facebook slowed our crowdfunding momentum by blocking us based on our belief in Life.” He added that, although Facebook claimed to have stopped blocking the group, there was still evidence that their posts were not showing up on people’s Facebook feeds.
Facebook eventually lifted this ban, claiming in an email to The Christian Post that this original removal was was done in error, however they AGAIN blocked ads in January 2019 when Loeb tried to use the “boost” feature on Facebook to generate hype for his anti-abortion film.
Facebook replied by stating, “Your ad isn’t approved because it doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies.”
announced in April 2019 that crowdfunding platform Indiegogo would “no longer allow anti-vaccine fundraisers or any projects making health claims that do not have a scientific backing.” The policy change came after the sequel to the well-known anti-vaccination film, Vaxxed, raised funds on the Indiegogo platform.
Anti-vaxxers, as they are called by the establishment media, were also banned at the same time from raising money on GoFundMe “in an attempt to stop the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation“.
GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said: “Campaigns raising money to promote misinformation about vaccines violate GoFundMe’s terms of service and will be removed from the platform. We are conducting a thorough review and will remove any campaigns currently on the platform.”
While many campaigns ask for Planned Parenthood support, for abortion procedure costs, to open an abortion clinic, for a pro-choice film about an abortion provider, for funding physician assisted suicide, and to advertise abortion care on these liberal platforms, don’t expect to fund a pro-life, anti-vaccine, or anti-pedophilia cause. A simple search on “abortion” on Razoo yields 1000 plus results.
In a Kickstarter campaign by an independent film company raising money for the pro-life movie on abortionist Kermit Gonsell, the page was censored because of “controversial subject matter” according to the platform. Kickstarter was at the same time hosting a pro-choice film called “The Provider”, about an abortionist trying to keep abortion legal in Texas. This film was not labeled “controversial subject matter”?
The leftist platform Kickstarter has also censored conservatives from their platform and prominantly displays a link to the terrorist, Marxist organization #BlackLivesMatter beneath their own logo…
And a large ad halfway down the home page linking to a page promoting donations to BLM, ACLU, NAACP, Communities United for Police Reform and other organizations. Many of these organizations are destroying American cites as this article is being written, demonizing the police and advocating for their defunding. It is aMarxist plan to destroy America based on lies, and to rebuild it as a technocratic dictatorship, which will be much to the surprise of the activists who have helped build it – thinking socialism is the destination and the answer.
In 2018, Kickstarter banned the project of a Swedish academic who was raising funds for a book examining the statistical correlation between immigration and rape in Sweden. The academic, Ann Heberlein, said she started the project because the Swedish government no longer keeps adequate records of the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of offenders in the country.
A crisis pregnancy center in North Carolina set up an account on YouCaring to raise funds for a new mobile ultrasound unit. However, the campaign was removed shortly after, because the site believed that the cause could potentially be “divisive.”
the conservative biblical crowdfunding site Funding Morality will shut down, thanks to the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The crowdfunding site raised money for pro-life causes and some of its more prominent cases included the support for Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friend, and Father Paul John Kalchik, a priest forced into hiding after burning an LGBT cross flag. A judge instituted a $3.2 million fine and ordered the website and its parent nonprofit to shut down, finding it had violated a previous order in 2015. That claim is inaccurate, according to the website’s co-founder.
The conservative biblical crowdfunding site Funding Morality was shut down in August 2019 thanks to the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The crowdfunding site raised money for pro-life causes and some of its more prominent cases included the support for Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friend, and Father Paul John Kalchik, a priest forced into hiding after burning an LGBT cross flag. A judge instituted a $3.2 million fine and ordered the website and its parent nonprofit to shut down, finding it had violated a previous order in 2015. That claim was inaccurate, according to the website’s co-founder.
In 2015, the court ordered that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) must shut down, because it allegedly violated consumer fraud laws by promising that men and women who suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction may overcome their orientation through therapy. Arthur Goldberg, JONAH’s co-founder with Elaine Berk, told PJ Media that JONAH never promised clients it could change their sexual orientation. In fact, before JONAH referred clients to therapists, the clients signed affidavits noting that no guarantee to success was provided.
Even so, the SPLC filed the first-of-its-kind lawsuit to get JONAH shut down, and a court order shut down the organization in 2015. The SPLC later claimed that Goldberg continued JONAH’s activities through a new organization, the Jewish Institute for Global Awareness (JIFGA). Goldberg set the record straight on this. (via PJ Media)
One of the most popular fundraising platforms is Patreon, a site that allows users to collect monthly recurring donations from their supporters. With the decline of ad revenue on platforms like YouTube, Patreon has emerged as an important and effective tool for online content creators to earn a living. In some cases, it can take little more than a hundred fans contributing set amounts per month for a creator to support themselves full-time.
In theory, this creates an environment similar to that of talk radio in the 1980s: a decentralized ecosystem where new creators can quickly establish an independent support base, without relying on gatekeepers in the establishment media. With only their fans to answer to, as opposed to controversy-shy advertisers, it should be the perfect formula for free expression.
There’s just one problem — Patreon itself. Like the rest of Silicon Valley, Patreon has decided it wants to be more than just a neutral platform, and now routinely cuts off income from content creators for political reasons. Chief among them is “hate speech”, which Patreon says it does not tolerate on its platform. It has used “hate speech” as a justification to ban a number of figures on the far-right, including white nationalist Jason Kessler. But although the alt-right is shunned by most, including Breitbart News, the idea that politics should dictate whether someone is allowed to access financial services is even more controversial.
As is often the case, banning extremists was the start of a slippery slope. Patreon’s purge quickly escalated beyond the alt-right to target independent conservative journalists. The latest example is YouTuber and author Brittany Pettibone, who was banned from the platform last month. Patreon cited her support for the European identitarian organization Generation Identity, a group Patreon claims is a “violent organization.” (The organization explicitly disavows political violence.)
Patreon also banned the independent journalist Lauren Southern in 2017 over her work exposing globalist NGOs assisting the illegal trafficking of persons into Europe via the Mediterranean. Patreon said her work could “cause loss of life” by stopping the work of NGO “rescue vessels” — but migrant deaths in the Mediterranean actually fell by 40 percent as attempted crossings declined in the wake of her reporting. Also, if interfering with the illegal activities of NGO vessels in the Mediterranean is unacceptable to Patreon, they should make it clear that the governments of Italy and Malta, which now bar NGO ships from their shores, aren’t welcome on the platform either.
In the bans documented above, Patreon used tenuous, insufficiently supported accusations of “violence” to suspend services to right-wingers. But with the exception of one token ban against It’s Going Down, a far-left site that encourages and celebrates political violence, the platform does not appear to apply its rules to the left with the same level of strictness.
Patreon’s bias can be seen in its approach to Antifa, a far-left organization that supports the use of violence against people they determine to be “fascists.” As you might expect, those are frequently just ordinary Trump supporters and conservatives. Antifa’s rampages at BLM protests, anti-police protests or pro-Trump events, where random acts of violence are accompanied by widespread looting and damage to private property, have in the past caused millions of dollars in damage. As mentioned previously, its violent co-conspirator in rioting and looting many major mteropolitan cities, Black Lives Matter, is highly promoted on the most reknowned crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.
Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and GoFundMe, YouCaring, and Patreon have all have publicly committed to interfering in their users’ activities if they offend the company’s progressive values.
PayPal and Stripe: Impassible Gatekeepers
It’s not difficult to build a website. If all existing online fundraising services have been co-opted by censor-happy progressives, why not build competing services that don’t ban users for political reasons? When you don’t like what’s on offer, build your own. That’s the free-market conservative argument.
But it’s not as simple as that.
In order to build a fundraising platform, you need a payments processor. And the market for payments processors is dominated by just two companies: PayPal and Stripe. And they’re just as intolerant as the fundraising platforms.
When Lauren Southern was banned from Patreon, she did what free-market conservatives recommended, and set up her own fundraising platform, powered by Stripe. Then, directly after Southern hit the headlines again over her lifetime ban from the U.K. for distributing leaflets satirizing Islam, Stripe abruptly withdrew their service.
Stripe informed Southern that she was banned for violating their rules on “Prohibited Businesses and Activities”, although they did not highlight precisely how she violated it. The list includes a prohibition on activity that “encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence toward any group based on race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other immutable characteristic.”
Stripe has also withdrawn services from FreeStartr, an alternative to Patreon and GoFundMe set up by free speech maximalist Chuck Johnson. Johnson says the platform has also been banned by PayPal. Already notorious for freezing WikiLeaks’ account in 2011, PayPal also withdrew services from nationalist YouTuber Faith Goldy in 2018.
Because of the lack of a payment processor, all of FreeStartr’s funds are now at risk, including a legal defense fund for jailed British Islam critic Tommy Robinson, a support fund for South African farmers at risk of racial violence, and income streams for various mainstream conservatives like organizer Ali Alexander and YouTuber Ashton Whitty.
Johnson says Stripe accused him of “obfuscating funds”, although the company did not respond to a request to comment asking them to elaborate on the allegation.
Johnson also says Stripe changed their story. He says he was initially contacted by senior Stripe employee Edwin Wee, a former Democrat operative who previously worked for Joe Sestak and Mike Bloomberg, who informed him that the presence of a legal defense fund for white supremacist Richard Spencer meant that Stripe could no longer do business with him. Because of one objectionable fund, the entire platform had to go.
“Everyone will think like, ‘oh it’s Richard Spencer, he can go f*** himself’ — but they shut down my entire business over his account,” said Johnson, who claims his goal is to build an open, neutral platform, and not to personally endorse the people who use it.
“My position on this is simple, it’s the same position the ACLU had in Skokie.” said Johnson in comments to Breitbart News. “Everyone has certain rights… If they need a legal defense, and people donate to it, and all the money’s legal, then I don’t see an issue with it. People have a right to donate to controversial causes.”
MakerSupport, another alternative to Patreon that promised to allow creators to raise funds regardless of their political affiliations, has effectively been destroyed after Stripe withdrew service from the platform. MakerSupport revealed their difficulties with Stripe back in April, before going silent. People who donated to creators through the site were left wondering where their money had gone.
That’s the brutal reality of payment processor censorship. Once a service like Stripe decides to withdraw support for a platform, thousands of dollars — peoples’ donations, income streams, and livelihoods — can be left in limbo.
Can a conservative competitor to Stripe or PayPal be created? Almost certainly not. The regulatory hurdles of setting up a payments processor, the difficulty of forging relationships with major banks, and the complexity of the technology and scarcity of talented programmers with experience in the field mean the operating and start-up costs are high. A payments processor targeted at the niche market of former Patreon users who have since been banned from the platform will not turn a profit. Anyone willing to set one up would have to be willing to burn a lot of money. Much like competing with Google or Apple, it’s easier said than done.
Moreover, a PayPal or Stripe competitor would still be dependent on business relationships with banks and credit card providers, none of which have any incentive to be first amendment friendly. MasterCard proved that back in 2011 when they joined a financial services boycott against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In order to fully guarantee a politically neutral service, you would need more than your own version of PayPal: you’d need your own bank and your own credit card business.
The existing banks can’t be relied on, that’s for sure — even mainstream conservative causes are too controversial for them these days. Citi, the fourth-largest bank in America, announced in March that it would withdraw its services from weapons and ammunition stores that refuse to accept a range of progressive gun control demands, none of which are mandated by U.S. law. These included prohibitions on the sale of bump stocks and “high-capacity magazines.” A week later, an investing group claiming to represent over $600 billion in assets urged its members to cut ties with the NRA.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was recently refused service at a restaurant because of her position in the Trump administration. Now imagine being refused a bank account because you won’t comply with progressives’ gun control demands.
But it’s not just conservatives who are concerned by the power of payment processors and financial institutions to shut down political expression. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a liberal organization known for promoting left-wing causes like the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” regulations, has expressed grave misgivings at the decision of financial institutions to withdraw services for political reasons.
In detailed comments provided to Breitbart News (read them in full here), the liberal group said payment processors like PayPal have become “de facto internet censors.”
“EFF is deeply concerned that payment processors are making choices about which websites can and can’t accept payments or process donations,” an EFF spokeswoman told Breitbart News. “This can have a huge impact on what types of speech are allowed to flourish online.”
An Existential Threat
In online fundraising as in social media, the internet provides a tremendous advantage to those who know how to use it. When allowed, conservatives and critics of progressivism have used these platforms to great effect. The dissident Canadian academic Jordan Peterson is supported by over 9,500 small donors on Patreon. Memories Pizza, the Indiana-based pizza parlor forced to close its doors after it was publicly attacked by the establishment media for refusing to cater gay weddings, was able to reopen after its supporters raised over $800,000 via GoFundMe.
As the left prepares for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election, they want to ensure that only they have access to that tremendous power. And with PayPal and Stripe withdrawing support from politically neutral fundraising platforms, they are well on their way to achieving that aim. Like the social media purges, this represents an existential threat to the conservative and pro-Trump movement.