The targeting of conservatives, libertarians, and critics of political Islam has been further targeted by progressive social media giants. After Alex Jones of InfoWars and conservative personality Gavin McInnes were banned by several social media platforms (including Facebook and YouTube), author Robert Spencer of JihadWatch was informed that he was cut off by MasterCard once he tried to go online with a new video studio. Some observers are calling it a coordinated attack by social media giants against conservatives and supporters of President Trump.
On Tuesday, Spencer -- the author of “The History of Jihad” and other books about political Islam -- received an email from fundraising website Patreon that it was removing his account because of a complaint from MasterCard, the multinational credit card compan. The missive from Patreon said that “Mastercard has a stricter set of rules and regulations than Patreon,” and that the credit card company reserves the right to deny services to accounts of their choosing. “This is in line with their terms of service, which means it’s something we have to comply by.” Spencer was refunded $475.22 by Patreon. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this might cause,” it said.
Spencer later stated that he had not received any prior warning that he was in violation of MasterCard’s rules despite having uploaded a single video announcing that he was refurbishing a television studio for his planned weekly livestreams titled, “This Week In Jihad.”
When Spencer responded to Patreon’s email, he received no response. Instead, when Spencer announced on Twitter his banishment from Patreon, Patreon responded:
“Hi Robert, we emailed you earlier today which explained that unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove your account. You replied to us but if you have further questions we're happy to keep emailing.” Patreon later tweeted, “Hey, we've been emailing with Robert today to explain the situation as unfortunately Mastercard required us to remove his account. We will continue to email with him if he has further questions.”
Spencer stated that Patreon had not been emailing him, nor had the company explained why MasterCard objected to him. On his website, Spencer wrote that Patreon did not explain why Patreon was obligated to comply with MasterCard. “I don’t have a MasterCard and didn’t have one attached to my Patreon account, so MasterCard really wasn’t involved — unless it owns Patreon, which is apparently the case.”
Spencer concluded that MasterCard and Patreon are deleting accounts that have been targeted by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled Spencer as a “hate group leader,” “white nationalist” and “anti-Muslim extremist.” In response, Spencer has declared in the past that he is not “anti-Muslim” but he does oppose jihad and Sharia oppression of women and non-Muslims. He also noted that SPLC also labeled Regnery Press as a “white nationalist” publisher. Regnery Press publishes the works of mainstream conservatives, including Dinesh D’Souza, David Horowitz, Ann Coulter, and Anthony M. Esolen.
According to Breitbart News, Mastercard contends that there may have been "illegal content" on Spencer's website. A spokesperson said: ‘As part of our normal process, we share information about websites that may have illegal content with the acquirer – or merchant’s bank – that connects them to our network to accept card payments. The acquirer would then review the site for compliance with legal requirements and our standards. They would then determine what action to take. In this case, the acquirer advised us that they decided to terminate acceptance.'”
Some observers suggest that Patreon and MasterCard may have confused Robert Spencer with Richard Betrand Spencer: the controversial National Policy Institute, which some have labeled a white supremacist group.