The ongoing controversy

Dear everyone.

Please be nice.

So, apparently there’s a shit storm brewing and it’s a little worrying.

We are already being asked questions and have to manage that (it must be really awful for those of you that have a large following).

Can we have an open an honest non-political discussion about this and how to deal with it?

Let me open with the conversation as it started on our Patreon Discord channel - I’d like to get your feedback and your take on things as well:

A asked: “Sooo how 'bout this Patreon controversy huh?”
B: "Do tell more "
A: “Nah, don’t wanna banned for posting political shit lol. You can look it up yourselves”

This tells me people are afraid. It’s heartbreaking (even if the perceived threat or the fear is real or where it comes from, it’s heartbreaking).

Me: “You won’t be banned as long as you stick to the rules. It’s real simple, we don’t want politics here. Obviously, doing something related to the Cold War lends itself inherently to political debate. We don’t want political debate outside of pancakes vs waffles (which is the only really meaningful debate anyone should have) - we want to make a video game.”

“Well, I need to expand on it. It’s not without politics. What happened was - and let me say this clearly: I think Patreon made a mistake here and they should reverse it - that Patreon banned a political Youtuber for using racist language, which is fine taken out of context. In context, it was probably not fine since the intention in context was to take a poke at racists. However, some folks are using this ban playing the victim card and it looks like they are brewing a shit storm for their own economic and political gains. From my perspective it’s very much a manufactured controversy. It should be a case of the youtuber and Patreon sorting it out and not a victim-based bandwagon for people to jump on, a storm in a glass of water. However, I do understand that people are being asked to boycott Patreon (we are not seeing a decrease in Patreonage, on the contrary) and if you wish to do so, go ahead but note that Patreon only takes a tiny cut and you are hurting us infinitely more than you are hurting Patreon and not really helping whatever political cause you subscribe to. Patreon has been nothing but awesome towards us and we are sticking with them until they cease to be so.”

What is going on in your communities?

Video Games

Edit: After looking more into who was banned and the (way too late) explanations and information about the process, I’m all behind the ban. Wholly convinced that Patreon has my and my fellow creators’ interests at heart.


Seeing my exit surveys, I only lost 1 person because of it, saying ‘‘Unfair treatment of Sargon.’’

But everything else is ok by my part.


So far, have received several emphatic emails (but only a few Patreon exit “interviews”) citing the controversy as a reason to pull support.

Interested to hear others thoughts and experiences.


I hadn’t heard anything about it and had to look it up.

Here’s a statement Patreon released about Sargon:

My take is this: I want Patreon to support people that I disagree with, people who make me uncomfortable, people who express ideas that offend me. We need freedom of expression. Simultaneously, I don’t want anyone to be able to profit from promoting ideas that can lead to genocide or a systematic repression of cultures and identities. There is a real danger of social media echo chambers causing conflict, as seen in the massacre and expulsion of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Reading Patreon’s statement, my main reaction was this intense hope that there was some one-on-one communication or warning to Sargon before his page was pulled?

@carla and @Patreon, please, if there isn’t already some sort of “three strikes and you’re out” system in place for removing a creator for hate speech – please make one. The principle of due process is important. There should be at least one warning prior to removal.

If Sargon Akkad was warned that he had “used racial slurs to insult others and specifically linked those slurs with negative generalizations of behavior,” and that future speech of that nature would result in removal from the platform, then it would be helpful to update the above statement to indicate that such a warning took place. Most of the criticism I’m seeing online isn’t necessarily that Sargon Akkad was banned (he’d been banned from Twitter previously, so obviously there are concerns about his content) - most of the criticism I’m seeing is about the method of his removal.


I’m somewhat surprised I hadn’t heard about this either.

Seems to me Patreon did what they had to do. They have a clear policy about hate speech, and Sargon violated it. IMO it’s a stretch to say that it’s a freedom of expression issue. Patreon are selling a product; they’re not a public utility. They’re under no obligation to help anyone raise money, least of all people whose presence on the site could alienate potential customers.


I had one Patron say they were thinking of leaving over the bans in general, but then they changed their mind.

YouTube seems to be heavily saturated with negative sentiment over the bans, though I don’t get the feeling that’s accurately representing the views of the majority of this community. Maybe I’m only speaking for myself, but I think many of us just want to make art and not get distracted by negativity, politics and conflict. I think it would be helpful if our fellow creators made a video or shared a post talking about what they feel is acceptable in the community to add some alternative points of view.

I agree with @ScienceMom. There is a difference between freedom of expression and causing harm to others. We should be here to make the world a better place, not hate on each other.


Nary a peep from my happy little tribe here on Patreon.

However, I’m one of the mods of the unofficial Patreon subreddit, and it’s been a genuine dumpster fire for the past 24 hours. We are moderating a lot more than usual, and some of the stuff removed makes me question the future of humanity.

As I’ve said elsewhere, I will be very glad when the annual Let’s Burn Patreon to the Ground festival is over, and things get back to normal.


Thank you for your words on this @ScienceMom. This articulates much of what I feel as well.


First of all, thank you so much for the civil discourse and good questions. I mainly want to address the questions about our policies and how our Trust and Safety team works.

Every inquiry or report investigation starts from an assumption that a creator has good intent. We do research and discuss things internally before reports are elevated to creators. Therefore, when we reach out to creators about their pages, they are offered information about the nature of conflict against our policies. Creators can appeal, and we often go back and forth with creators over ways to either bring their pages into compliance or creator output into alignment with our policies. So there’s no three strikes, because we are willing to work with creators. The vast majority of creators are willing to work with us, or express remorse for actions, or want to find ways to continue to serve their communities using Patreon.

I want to stress that there are real people here, and we do work very hard on things to bring in the creator perspective to ensure we’re being fair while adhering to the policies we set out.

We know that we need to provide more information about how T&S (as we call it internally) works, and we’re planning to share more in 2019.

Thanks again for the questions and for being so thoughtful about this community.


Judging from the responses on Twitter to this, it seems that the alt right is preparing a campaign against Patreon and creators.

So if you encounter people urging you to quit Patreon in the near future, consider they could be politically motivated agitators.


cc @rppr

Yeah, I posted on Twitter (yesterday) a few thoughts on the topic, supporting Patreon’s decision and was tagged with (# Get Woke Go Broke) in a reply… within minutes, I had a swarm (eventually hundreds) of politically backfiring, name-calling, attacking replies. I did have a few thoughtful replies, but very little. It was getting uglier than I wanted. I also wasn’t responding to it. I started noticing how they were using my Tweet to make things even more political so I eventually removed it. It’s messy out there… I’m eager for some of the T&S stuff that @carla referred to circulate in 2019 so we can all reference and ground ourselves a little more.

I also think it urges and pushes such important policies and conversations around human dignity. It’s hard … but I trust the grit and work behind and around it all. Thanks for getting this conversation going @escalation1985.


Thanks for the input @carla. I figured that there had been communication beyond what was mentioned in the statement - and I think providing more information about how T&S works will be really helpful.

@lisavollrath, @intrinsicpaths, and @rppr, I’m sorry to hear the discussion is getting ugly and hope things come around to a better resolution. Sometimes I feel like the digital age has pushed humanity into a painful adolescence. Here’s to the hope that our species weathers the mood swings and makes it through without doing anything too stupid. :disappointed:



Feel like we are being taken hostage by politics. Let me off, I just want to play games and eat waffles.


I too feel that something is a little fishy based on the comments I’ve encountered. I think a lot of people are honestly upset by the bans, but there does appear to be a lot of anonymous antagonists out there stoking the fire. It doesn’t help that there are also creators out there drumming up negative sentiment. As I said before, it wouldn’t hurt to post some positive messages even if it’s just a tweet or a post. Yes, you’re going to get some hateful comments, but is that worth it? I think so.

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It’s really fishy.

Repeatedly, you see the same appeal for a boycott of Patreon followed by a suggestion to join Subscribestar.

Now, I’m not normally into conspiracies but Subscribestar is run by a Russian business person. Stay classy, FSB.

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I’m seeing the same—and those posts started right after PayPal disabled SubscribeStar’s account.

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I too made note of that detail.

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This has definitely been the impression I’ve gotten. The negative replies on Patreon’s tweet have the same flavor as the trolls/bots on any other thread by a platform that has scolded/dropped an alt right hero. (A lot of trumpeting around “free speech” and “censorship,” and quite a few people actually straight-up defending hate speech in no uncertain terms… yikes.)

I recall VidCon getting a similar backlash when they sided with Anita Sarkeesian against Sargon in that panel debacle. Personally, I haven’t lost a single Patron — in fact, none of my 260 Patrons have even brought it up. The only “backlash” I’ve gotten is generic trolls who don’t follow me leaving antagonistic comments on Patreon-related videos on YouTube.

Frankly, if any of my followers WERE mad about this, I’d be glad to see the back of them.


I miss the days when racists getting banned from websites didn’t invoke some massive controversy.


Almost anything can trigger some massive controversy these days. Social media is a strong weapon. We are fearful of competition using it to ruin us, which wouldn’t be hard. Trigger a few folks on Twitter, buy a couple of thousands of shares/likes/upvotes from a farm somewhere and we are out of business. I strongly suspect that is what’s going on here.

Edit: We’ve already seen our competitors buy fake likes for Facebook. Shady af.

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