Updated December 14, 2018. 11:20 pm EST
In a new post on Patreon today, Jordan Peterson has articulated his position on Patreon’s deplatforming of controversial YouTube personality Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. In the post, Peterson states: “I am an admirer of Sargon, and he was a great friend of mine when I was in deep trouble two years ago. I think there is no excuse for deplatforming him (particularly when his fundamental crime was defending himself against neo-Nazis).”
Benjamin was booted from Patreon after a video surfaced of him deriding Neo-Nazis by using a racist term in an ironic way. Whatever you may think of Benjamin’s language in the video, it was not in violation of Patreon’s policies. Benjamin was well within his right to express himself, and the fact that he was deplatformed for exercising free speech as opposed to committing some kind of harmful action is problematic to say the least.
This tweet from YouTuber and writer Benjamin Boyce sums up exactly why what happened to Benjamin matters to other creators and consumers:
— Benjamin Boyce (@BenjaminABoyce) December 10, 2018
It’s always the little guy who gets screwed over the most when corporations like Patreon decide to play to the woke peanut gallery.
Patreon CEO Jack Conte went on the popular YouTube show The Rubin Report last year to assure creators that they could trust him to not punish people for their speech. In this appearance, Conte successfully convinced creators that Patreon would not cave to ideological pressure and would defend free speech. Most remained convinced until “The Sargon Incident.”
Many creators and patrons have since expressed frustration and disappointment in the platform. They see the banning of Benjamin as a betrayal. Indeed, many have already abandoned Patreon for SubscribeStar, an alternative crowdfunding platform. It appears that Patreon may be bleeding revenue as it loses support from users and creators. Peterson’s recent statement has amplified the sentiment of these disaffected people. Now the ball is in Jack Conte’s court. Some still believe that Patreon can fix the problem.
One very recent and fascinating thread on Twitter by freelance journalist Nick Monroe has already pointed out what appears to be a gaggle of activist spin doctors to undermine SubscribeStar’s reputation:
THERE IS ALREADY BOYCOTT EFFORTS FOR SUBSCRIBESTAR STARTING.
I came across some shmuck named Tim Squirrell feeding Will Sommer and Jared Holt information to use in whatever smear campaign they’ve got cooking up.
Tim has also CCed the Sleeping Giants so they can boycott it. pic.twitter.com/bJyCUX6sin
— St. Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) December 14, 2018
Within hours, the predictable happened. SubscribeStar is now temporarily shut down. SubscribeStar reached out to me via Twitter to provide context: “while some of our operations are paused/restricted by PayPal and Stripe, we are not shutting down the service, nor we’re planning on doing so. We are implementing other means for subscribers to support their Stars and for Stars—to get paid.”
Peterson’s take on the issue is of particular interest because he is the quite possibly the most popular figure in the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW). Indeed, his monthly support numbers on Patreon are astronomical. He has also been a vocal opponent of compelled speech laws and an unwavering champion of freedom of expression.
In his post today, Peterson went on to assure his supporters and well wishers that he is looking for a solution to the fallout from this new crowdfunding controversy: “I have been talking continually with the majority of members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web, and we are determining what steps to take … Dave Rubin and I (and others) have been discussing the establishment of a Patreon-like enterprise that will not be susceptible to arbitrary censorship, and we are making progress, but these things cannot be rushed without the possibility of excess error.”
He continued: “I remain deeply grateful for your support and committed to ensure that the money you pledge will be devoted to the highest cause possible and that none of this is being treated with casual disregard.”
Liberals, centrists and conservatives have come to trust Peterson for his consistency during the particularly gruelling culture wars of the late 2010s. In 2018, you can often tell just how effective a voice is by how many people target the speaker with defamation and hit pieces. You see, the more mainstream platforms try to smear popular figures like PewDiePie, Jordan Peterson and liberal feminist Laci Green with labels like “alt right,” the more you can be sure that these people are making meaningful connections and resonating with everyday people.
On this issue, it is encouraging to see Peterson express his support for Benjamin and his disappointment in Patreon. It’s a dangerous time for freedom of expression. The ability to make a living while expressing heterodox views is under attack. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Patreon have all made recent efforts to “sanitize” their platforms in the name of social justice. Peterson’s statement today provides some hope for the future of freedom of expression on the internet. I hope it leads to real, effective action. This may be an opportunity to break up the monopolies of social media and put an end to their control over cultural capital and their ability to erase people.
Mikhaila Peterson and her father Dr. Jordan Peterson have a bestselling book on Amazon about the carnivore diet. The only problem, it’s not their book.
While Mikhaila has been vocal about her support for a thoroughly carnivorous diet, this book transcribes comments, interviews, and YouTube videos of the two Petersons and puts it together as a collection. It had no approval from either of the listed authors, no proceeds are heading their way, and fans have been fooled into buying the fake book with a horrendous, amateur photoshopped cover.
The guy who put the whole thing together is Johnny Rockermeier, a German YouTuber who has published one other book of Jordan Peterson transcriptions. His YouTube page is full of Peterson videos and interviews.
In fact, Rockermeier appears to be a fanboy. So why would he take it upon himself to attribute a book to Mikhaila and Jordan Peterson, hijacking and misappropriating their brand?
We reached out to Mikhaila who told us “[Rockermeier] did some German translations for my dad’s videos a number of years ago on YouTube. But he shouldn’t be publishing. We received an email and sent it to our lawyers and said, ‘No you can’t do that.’ That was two weeks ago. Our lawyers didn’t get on it fast enough. I don’t know why Amazon isn’t more on top of this kind of thing. It’s happened before.”
Disturbingly, a number of left-wing activist journalists and researchers have taken to Twitter to use the fake book as a line of attack against Mikhaila and her father. When put in their place by Mikhaila herself, they still haven’t corrected their false assertions.
Some of the activists include Nathan Bernard and Becca Lewis, a social justice researcher who falsely claimed that Peterson’s videos were part of an “alternative influence network” that led to the “alt-right” in a since-debunked study.
The Post Millennial was also able to connect with Rockermeier. When asked if he thought there might be a problem with publishing and selling a book without the authors’ consent, he told us, “well they could contact me so I guess they’re happy with it. In the book there’s nothing they didn’t say, and the pics are publicly available. [Mikhaila] even posted her mom in swimwear.” He then added a smiley face with a tongue sticking out.
When asked about the claim on Amazon that, “for every paperback sold, Mikhaila and her father Dr. Jordan Peterson will receive $1.00 directly,” Rockermeier said, “I will send their royalties when her Thinkspot is up. She’s off Patreon now. But honestly, they don’t need any more money.”
Mikhaila Peterson went on to tell us that she plans to look for a way to get the fraudulent books removed. “Normally it doesn’t bother me, yesterday I thought it was kind of funny. The cover is so cheesy that it’s kind of funny. But I’ve gotten emails about what a terrible person I am and what a terrible person my dad is. No matter how resilient you are, it’s tough reading a whole bunch of messages like that. People forget that anyone who has a platform is also a person.”
As of writing Amazon is still selling the fraudulent books. Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Three people have been arrested and charged by Hamilton police in relation to protests held at a speaking event with political commentator Dave Rubin and People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier last month, report Hamilton Police.
Of those arrested were Alaa Al Soufi, 27, the son of owners of the popular Soufi’s restaurant in Toronto. Also arrested was Kevin Metcalf, 33, who allegedly attacked a man at an anti-M-103 rally in Toronto last year, and Maximiliano Herrera, 30, each for incidents that took place outside of the Mohawk College speaking event.
Metcalf, a former employee of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, had originally posted about his arrest in a lengthy Facebook post on September 30th:
The event gained international attention after a video emerged of three protestors blocking the path of an elderly woman attempting to enter the event. Soufi can be seen in the video wearing a balaclava.
The owners of the restaurant, Husam and Shahnaz Al-Soufi confirmed their son was at the protest, with Husam telling TPM he had no prior knowledge of antifa’s brutish activity, stating: “I was so ignorant about what was happening. I thought antifa was anti-fascist—[that’s] anti-Hitler, anti-terrorist. I had no idea it happened in Hamilton. I had no idea about Mr. Maxime’s speech.”
He went on to say he prays that his son will one day have the opportunity to apologize to the elderly woman who was blocked by his son. “I pray it will happen. And when I say pray, I usually look at a beautiful thing and make a wish. Usually, this beautiful thing is my wife… She is a lovely senior lady and my son blocked her way. Wearing a scary mask is not something we should accept. It is legal but immoral.”
Police say the September 29 event was met with a large group of “more than 100 protestors.”
Four people at the event were arrested and later released unconditionally, according to officers.
Police say that arrests were made after reviewing video footage in the days following the event. Several suspects were identified.
Police say they arrested one male suspect on October 22, with two male suspects turning themselves in the next day.
Soufi has been charged with two counts of intimidation with intent, with one count of causing a disturbance.
Metcalf has been charged with obstructing to police.
Herrera has been charged with intimidation and assault.
ShapeShifter Lab in New York City has cancelled a screening for the movie “The Rise of Jordan Peterson” because its staff felt uncomfortable.
An email was circulated to customers who had bought tickets to the show, and gave the reason that some staff were made uncomfortable by the first screening.
The customers were refunded for their purchases.
Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, has risen to become a personality that has inspired many.
He is an outspoken critic of political correctness, identity politics, and what he calls “Post-modern Neo-Marxism.”
Peterson recently debated notable Socialist philosopher Slavoj Žižek on the topic of “Happiness: Capitalism versus Communism.”
The film’s producer, Holding Space wrote a press release that stated:
Déjà vu. Our encore screening in New York today was cancelled because of staff complaints. We found out at 11pm last night that the venue, Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, decided to cancel. The screening was scheduled for 4pm today. Ticket-holders are all being refunded.
We’re disappointed, to say the least. We sent the venue owners a link to the film a month ago so they had a chance to review it and to be aware of what they were getting into. Instead they went in blind and made a last-minute decision under the guise of accommodating both sides because they had already screened the film once, on October 3. We hardly consider this an accommodation if we’re being notified when it’s too late to find a replacement venue. We’ve spent money traveling to New York for this and invested in promoting the screening, all of which we hoped to compensate for through ticket sales.
Some people have accused us of adopting “right-wing talking points” and of being bias in our filmmaking if we’re adopting a shutting down narrative akin to Jordan Peterson. It’s particularly difficult to digest comments like this on a day like today. How can one attempt to dismiss what is actually happening as a “narrative” or a “talking point” as if the reality of the situation isn’t relevant?
To be honest, we’re pretty bored of this story. It’s played out, and we spent years investigating it for this film. We were – and are still – hoping that our public conversation about the film can actually shift to being about the film.
We also hope Canadians watching cinema-on-demand screenings across the country today in 11 cities get a lot out of the film. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.
ShapeShifter Lab was contacted by The Post Millennial and confirmed that there was a cancellation, but provided no comment as to why.
Disclosure: Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca), which has written to Mohawk College President Ron McKerlie about not imposing security fees on innocent parties.
Like so many other Canadian colleges and universities, Mohawk College in Hamilton is asking the wrong people to pay for event security.
The victims of Mohawk’s security fee censorship are the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier, and American talk show host Dave Rubin.
Rubin interviewed Bernier at a ticketed event on Sunday, September 29, using the 1,000-seat McIntyre Art Centre, rented from Mohawk College. Threatened “protests” almost derailed the event after Mohawk College increased the “security fees” by an unknown quantum. Rubin agreed to pay the sum, in order to ensure the event still went ahead.
Rubin, who is a gay and Jewish libertarian has been denounced by Evan Balgord of the Canadian Anti-hate Network as “far-right” and as “a significant part of a radicalization process ushering people into the neo-Nazi movement”. However, Rubin is a respected American political commentator with a syndicated show, not some deranged hateful maniac.
Rubin isn’t charged with a hate crime, or hate speech, and he’s not on any Interpol wanted lists. That Balford would prevent Rubin from speaking says more about Balford than it does about Rubin.
In a similar fashion, Balgord claims that many supporters and organizers of the libertarian PPC are “bigots, members or supporters of hate groups, radical conspiracy theorists, or full-blown neo-Nazis.”
Sadly, Balgord’s accusations are not unique, and his tactics are not original. More and more, intolerant people denounce the speech they hate as “hate speech,” then move quickly to argue for “de-platforming”, or silencing their opponents.
They elevate their own opinion to a new legal standard and demand societal compliance. Balgord and his ilk hate the marketplace of ideas, and the personal liberty to participate in it. They claim that
Shree Paradkar, the Toronto Star’s “race and gender columnist,” suggests that giving Bernier a platform is like giving a platform to flat-earthers. Even if this broad and sweeping comparison about a public figure’s diverse political platform were accurate and fair, Paradkar is still wrong because she believes that we should not even listen to opinions we strongly disagree with, and that media should censor the “wrong” views by not reporting on them. But if a candidate running for office did believe that the earth is flat, should media not report on that? According to Paradkar, the “free speech argument” that media should cover Bernier (as they do other party leaders) validates “hate speech.”
If someone found Paradkar’s speech to be “hateful,” would it be okay to “deplatform” her from her privileged place as a media talking head, and to use whatever means are necessary to ensure that as few people as possible have a chance to listen to her “extreme” views? Why does Paradkar get both a platform and a veto on who else can be in the discussion?
And why is screaming “hate” the ultimate veto? Hate is a personal feeling, experienced subjectively by individuals. Absent definition, “hate” is devoid of any objective way to measure it.
Bernier’s response that “people who are racist and (don’t) believe in the Canadian values aren’t welcome in our party” will not deter the likes of Balgord and Paradkar from arguing that Bernier should be silenced.
In their own minds, their own accusations of “racism” and “hate” carry far more weight than their opponents’ denials. This is the same sanctimonious, unvarnished arrogance by which violent groups like Antifa (“anti-fascists”) use physical force to obstruct, interrupt and shut down the events of people they disagree with (much like fascists in Europe did during the 1920s and 1930s).
I will be the first to defend the free speech rights of Balgord and Paradkar to spew their vitriol as they please, and I will also defend the legal right of Rubin and Bernier to contemplate a defamation action over false and damaging accusations.
If such legal action were commenced, the court would sort out whether the accusations of hatred, “
Mohawk College is a taxpayer-funded, government-controlled institution. The taxes which support it come from a diverse public with views as diverse as the Canadian mosaic. It’s one thing for ideologues and activists to cry “hate” whenever someone disagrees with them, followed by demands that no college, university, library or other venue provide “a platform for hatred.”
It’s quite another for public and
The need for a large security presence arises solely from those who threaten to disrupt, obstruct, shout down and shut down the speech they disagree with. For example, at the September 29 event, some masked “protesters” physically obstructed an elderly woman who was using her walker to make her way slowly to the entrance, to presumably listen to what Rubin and Bernier had to say.
While physically preventing her from using the crosswalk (a violation of several civil statutes as well as section 175 of the Criminal Code), they shouted “Nazi scum, off our streets!” at this vulnerable senior citizen. Without this kind of behaviour, there would be no serious need to hire security, beyond a token presence of a handful for a large event.
It’s wrong to force a person or group to pay money to exercise her or his legal right to speak peacefully at a college or university campus. Mohawk College should force disruptive and violent groups like Antifa to pay the security costs, instead of forcing Antifa’s victims to pay.
Unfortunately, Mohawk College is following the bad example of other universities. For instance, the University of Alberta demanded that a small number of pro-life students pay $17,500 in security fees as a condition for erecting a stationary educational display on campus for two days. The U of A could easily have demanded this $17,500 from the self-identified students who spoke publicly on social media about their intentions to shut down pro-life expression on campus by using physical obstruction and other illegal means. But it is usually easier to pacify the mob.
By putting a price on free speech, Mohawk College contributes to a chilling effect on free expression on its own campus, contrary to its own stated policies. Mohawk College claims to oppose obstructing or interfering with “the freedom of others to express their views,” but then makes Bernier and Rubin pay for the bad behaviour of other people.
Lawless and disruptive individuals are motivated to continue behaving badly because Mohawk College and others pander to mob censorship, by forcing the victims of bad behaviour to bear the cost of that behaviour.
By extorting security fees from those who seek only to express their opinions and listen to others, Mohawk College has effectively blamed the victim and encouraged the bullies. This punish-the-victim approach amounts to condoning the mob censorship of free expression.