It’s difficult running an alternative media company. And, as Red Ice hosts Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff learned the hard way, it’s even tougher when your alternative media company openly peddles white supremacist agitprop. In a July 16, 2018 video uploaded to their YouTube channel, the racist duo announced that they had been banned from using PayPal and needed a new way to collect donations.
“The short of it is, we are under attack,” Palmgren solemnly told his viewers. “We have gotten our payment gateway system shut down. PayPal has limited our ability to accept new payments and we are basically in a situation where Red Ice currently is dead in the water. Without your help we’re not gonna be able to continue this project.”
Lokteff accused their “enemies” of “stepping it up.” “They’re going after anybody like us who talks about what we talk about, whether it’s dragging them into long legal battles, censorship, banning — they want to shut us up,” she said. “And this is another move to try and shut down Red Ice, I think.” She said she was “surprised” that it hadn’t happened sooner, especially since “there’s been a lot of eyes on us.”
According to the email they received from PayPal, the decision was made due to “the nature of your activities.” Palmgren appeared dumbfounded by this because, even though their platform caters to white supremacists, Islamophobes, and Holocaust deniers, “we’re not foul-mouthed, we don’t hate anybody, [and] we don’t express any violence.”
Whitewashing his own media outlet’s overt bigotry, Palmgren said Red Ice is simply an “alternative media outlet” and framed the issue as a matter of free speech.
“I mean I’m floored by this issue that you are literally not, in free speech America, where people have fled to, the country that people fled to because they’ve been persecuted and they’ve been hounded for their religious beliefs and whatever else it happens to be, alright, that you are not allowed to have a different opinion on political matters,” he complained. Lokteff said the goal was to make them and people like them “destitute.”
But this deplatforming wasn’t limited to Red Ice. On the same day this plea for help was posted to YouTube, white nationalist Faith Goldy announced on Twitter that she too had lost access to PayPal. She directed her followers to FreeStartr, a crowdfunding website created by fellow white nationalist Chuck Johnson:
In another tweet from the following day Goldy wrote indignantly, “Imagine having your revenue streams completely cut off simply for stating that you wish to secure your own existence!” She added, “What’s next? No water or heat supply for heretics against the conventional wisdom of our age [open borders & population replacement]?!”
Yet soon even FreeStartr was no longer an option, as Goldy tweeted that “Freestartr’s payment platforms (PayPal & Stripe) have de-platformed them completely” and that her “last financial window” was now “closed.”
For Goldy, who is currently in Prague preparing for her wedding, this was the last straw. In a Periscope video titled “NATIONALISTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE A LIVING!?,”* Goldy denounced PayPal and called for payment processors to be regulated like public utilities — a familiar argument to white nationalists whose Twitter accounts have been suspended.
According to Goldy, ever since she was banned from Patreon two months ago “ninety-plus percent of my revenue streams have been through PayPal” — which is why being kicked off Patreon was ultimately not a big deal. Her inability to use PayPal, however, is a different story and “effectively knocked me down at the knees.” “This was where the majority of my income for my independent journalism and commentary happened,” she said.
Goldy told viewers that she still had a “light at the end of the tunnel,” which was Johnson’s FreeStartr website. FreeStartr, like other alt-right crowdfunding platforms before it, was popular with fringe political figures like Laura Loomer, Vox Day, and the white nationalist Suidlanders group from South Africa. The producers of the laughable Roe v. Wade movie raised some $107,000 through it as well.
“And FreeStartr, unlike the bigots and Silicon Valley soyboys at PayPal, had promised me that I’d have a cozy home there, and that my brand of journalism and my appeal to facts and rather bold communication of them was never going to hinder my ability to crowdfund on their site,” she said.
However, without access to their payment processors, FreeStartr is no longer capable of raising money. Its website currently states that “Silicon Valley Apartheid is real” and, according to a message from Johnson, they are currently looking for a new payment processor. Unfortunately for Goldy and other white nationalists, that means their most effective revenue stream has been shut off completely.
She then suggested that companies like PayPal and Stripe be classified as public utilities so that they can no longer cut off customers for their hateful speech and activities.
“In Western society we have public utilities — things like our water, our sewage, etc.,” she explained, adding that even if you’re “the craziest person in the world” that does not mean that you can be denied utilities. The solution, therefore, would be to crack down on these “monopolies” and classify them as public utilities to force them to accept the business of everyone, including white nationalists.
And she wondered whether the people who advocated for PayPal and Stripe denying services to white nationalists were the same who “were daring to demand bakers to make some sort of a flour-enriched shrine to state-enforced homosexuality.” (LGBT people are a protected class under anti-discrimination laws of various states. White nationalists are not.)
She ended the broadcast by ominously stating that they were fighting a “war” against a “cabal” that is seeking to cover up the truth and stifle dissent.
“With the Overton Window constantly becoming narrower and narrower, and political correctness going from the public sphere and name-calling to now shutting down revenue streams, how much worse does it have to get before you, your friends, your family, your colleagues start to wake up?” she asked. “That we are at war right now. And there is a cabal that is very interested in keeping the truth silent.”
*An earlier version of this article stated that Goldy’s Periscope video was titled “WHITE NATIONALISTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO MAKE A LIVING!?” This was a mistake on my part. In actuality the title never mentioned white nationalism. This article was updated accordingly and I apologize for the error.