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Yaron Brook Onkar Ghate Gregory Salmieri discuss Patreon de-platforming controversy

Discussing Patreon’s De‑Platforming Controversy

If you haven’t heard about the Patreon controversy, here’s a brief summary: the crowdfunding platform, through which many content creators receive funds from their fans (or patrons), recently kicked out some users for allegedly violating the platform’s community guidelines. Banned users include Carl Benjamin (a popular YouTuber also known as Sargon of Akkad), Milo Yiannopoulos (former Breitbart editor), and political commentator James Allsup.

Patreon’s decision generated criticism, including from author Sam Harris, one of the site’s most prominent members. Harris contends that the likely explanation is that these users were banned for their political views. He deleted his account as a consequence, explaining that he no longer finds it “tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s ‘Trust and Safety’ committee.”

Recently, ARI experts Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, and Greg Salmieri sat down to analyze this issue, which, they argue, is philosophical in nature. They linked the Patreon controversy with previous ones about Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms that have come under fire lately and, more broadly, to the issue of free speech on college campuses.

Among other topics, they discussed:

  • Why Patreon’s decisions should not come as a surprise given what is taught on college campuses
  • What to make of the platform’s community guidelines
  • The right of everyone, including companies, to associate with whom they want, and not to provide a platform for views they disagree with
  • The problem of “hate speech”

Watch the video below if you want to gain a deeper understanding of this debate, and of the philosophical roots of the controversy.

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Onkar Ghate

Onkar Ghate, Ph.D. in philosophy, is a senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. A contributing author to many books on Rand’s ideas and philosophy, he is a senior editor of New Ideal.

Gregory Salmieri

Gregory Salmieri, Ph.D. in philosophy, is an Anthem Foundation Fellow and teaches philosophy at Rutgers University. He is co-editor of A Companion to Ayn Rand and Foundations of a Free Society and has published and lectured on epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophies of Aristotle and Ayn Rand.

Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LL.B. and LL.M., is a research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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