On November 9, PayPal terminated accounts used by far-right group the Proud Boys, the account used by its founder Gavin McInnes, and multiple accounts from various American anti-fascist groups.
First reported by Buzzfeed’s Blake Montgomery via Twitter, the maneuver – which comes after a series of similar decisions – will not only make it more difficult for the groups to raise money, but it is also an announcement of a shift in policy at PayPal.
In a statement supplied to the Verge, the company said the following.
“We work hard to achieve the right balance and to ensure that our decisions are values-driven and not political. We carefully review accounts and take action as appropriate.”
PayPal’s insistence that the de-platforming is not politically-driven seems to have been interpreted by the Atlanta Antifa as a consequence of the “liberal ‘both sides’ discourse.”
In a conversation with the Daily Beast, the Antifa group disputed PayPal’s ban as “ridiculous false equivalence,” adding, “This is where liberal ‘both sides’ discourse leads.”
Atlanta Antifa posted a lengthy statement to Twitter, arguing that groups such as the Proud Boys engage in violence while promoting white supremacist views, while anti-fascist organizations are focused on monitoring and countering their actions, and protecting marginalized communities.
The organization also noted that it will have other payment options available soon for those willing to donate to the cause.
According to the Daily Beast, at least two other Antifa groups were de-platformed in PayPal’s most recent banning spree: Antifa Sacramento, and the Anti-Fascist Network.
Previously, the online payment company had banned Antifa Arkansas, Belfast Antifa, Antifa Philadelphia, and Rose City Antifa.
PayPal cited hate and violence by both sides, leading one anti-fascist organization to call the move "ridiculous false equivalence" https://t.co/lGGRhumRVF
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 11, 2018
Jason Lee Van Dyke, a lawyer representing the Proud Boys, urged President Donald Trump and the United States Congress to “fully investigate and put a stop to these cowardly tactics by the political left,” adding that tech companies like PayPal “do not believe in the values upon which” the United States was founded.
The far-right group is considering legal action against what Van Dyke refers to as “tortious interference.”
As the Boston Herald reported, Antifa groups are being accused of hate crimes against Fox News host Tucker Carlson, following violent protests outside his Washington, D.C. home.
Much like the Proud Boys, Carlson is considered to be an ardent Trump supporter and Antifa groups are accusing him of racism and white supremacy.
The Proud Boys have had their run-ins with the law as well. In October, according to the Daily Mail, Proud Boys brawled with Antifa in the streets of New York, and the organization’s leader Gavin McInnes was spotted holding a sword.