Posted on December 17, 2018

PayPal Shuts Russian Crowdfunder’s Account After Alt-Right Influx

Financial Times, December 15, 2018

PayPal has cut ties with a crowdfunding site after it was flooded with alt-right activists on both sides of the Atlantic.

SubscribeStar currently hosts a roster of more than 100 “stars”, consisting almost entirely of rightwing activists and pornographers.

A slew of rightwing activists began promoting SubscribeStar as their preferred crowdfunding site earlier this month after Patreon, the market leader, banned YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as “Sargon of Akkad”, and Milo Yiannopoulos from its site.

A Patreon spokesman said: “Sargon of Akkad was removed for his violation of hate speech in our guidelines as he deployed racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual. Milo Yiannopoulos was removed for violating our content guidelines with his association and support of violent organisations.”

Patreon lets fans pay a monthly stipend to support artists and activists, charging 5 per cent commission and a further 5 per cent transaction fee on all donations. SubscribeStar offers a similar service, claiming to be “free of political biases”.

SubscribeStar has actively courted individuals banned on Patreon and elsewhere, including Mr Benjamin. Founder Mikhail Zadvornyy says he hopes to provide a space for those “who want to have free and intelligent conversation without fear of being bullied, de-platformed or prosecuted”.


A SubscribeStar spokesman said the site would temporarily stop accepting new subscribers. “We are fighting back and integrating new unbiased and predictable processors that will allow us to grow . . . Our team is working tirelessly for all of us [to be] able to secure our future without fear of being bullied by the crooks in their corporate suits and their subservient weasels.”


Controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson has publicly backed Mr Benjamin, tweeting a link to his new crowdfunding page with the caption: “You can support Sargon at the Patreon alternative SubscribeStar.”


Rightwing writer Ian Miles Cheong, YouTuber Mark Meechan — better known as “Count Dankula” — and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich also told followers they were switching to SubscribeStar.