PayPal banned Jihad Watch and the American Freedom Defense Initiative from receiving online donations using their platform because of the site’s “activities” after being designated as “hate sites” by left-wing groups.
Jihad Watch was reportedly banned from PayPal on Saturday after ProPublica – a George Soros funded investigative group – targeted the site and its director Robert Spencer (not to be confused with white nationalist Richard Spencer) in a hit piece that claimed the site was guilty of “extreme hostility toward Muslims.”
The assault on Jihad Watch began on Friday when Spencer received an email that he described as a “threatening” from ProPublica journalist Lauren Kirchner.
The email informed Spencer that she was including his site among a list of hate sites identified as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – both widely considered to be left-leaning organizations.
The purpose of the hit piece published by ProPublica was clear: put pressure on tech companies that offer their platforms to sites that it deems as “hate sites.”
ProPublica specifically called out Amazon, PayPal, and Newsmax for maintaining partnerships with Jihad Watch. Hours after the outlet published its hit piece, Spencer received the following email from PayPal:
RE: Notice of PayPal Account Limitation
Dear Robert Spencer,
We have recently reviewed your usage of PayPal’s services, as reflected in
our records and on your website https://www.jihadwatch.org. Due to the
nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in
accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a
permanent limitation on your account.
We ask that you please remove all references to PayPal from your website.
This includes removing PayPal as a payment option, as well as the PayPal
logo and/or shopping cart.
If you have a remaining balance, you may withdraw the money to your bank
account. Information on how to withdraw money from your PayPal account can
be found via our Help Center.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions or
need our support, please contact the PayPal Brand Risk Management
Department at email@example.com.
PayPal Brand Risk Management
Spencer told The Daily Caller in an email that these attacks stem from the violence in Charlottesville, and the Left sees the tragedy as an opportunity to pounce on sites that it finds offensive.
“The Left sees blood in the water after Charlottesville and is moving in for the kill, attempting to delegitimize, silence and destroy all dissent,” he wrote. “The freedom of speech, the foundation of a free society, is being eroded away under our very noses.”
It is worth noting that PayPal has also banned many accounts that are tied to the “alt-right” after the SPLC identified them as “hate sites” or “hate groups.”
A report by CNN Tech found that PayPal blocked payments to the majority of the accounts listed by the SPLC, including Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute, Identity Evropa, Radical Agenda, and the Revolutionary Conservative.
Jihad Watch describes its purpose as “attempt[ing] to raise awareness about the activities of the global jihadists,” while the AFDI describes its objective as “go[ing] on the offensive when legal, academic, legislative, cultural, sociological, and political actions are taken to dismantle our basic freedoms and values.”
Robert Spencer called for people to boycott PayPal in a post on Jihad Watch which led to the hashtag #BoycottPayPal appearing on Twitter’s trending now list:
PayPal failed to respond to multiple requests for comment from TheDC.