“I will be deleting my Patreon account on September 1st,” announced Sam Harris during his July 25th-published Waking Up podcast.
Patreon is an online fundraising mechanism through which Harris has, at least as of July 25th, more financial supporters than directly through his own website.
Harris noted a wave of left-wing agitation campaigns directed at shutting down all views dissenting from their neo-Marxist dogma, fearing that he will be financially damaged by such campaigns in the future.
Dependence on third-party platforms such as Patreon and YouTube are too risky for financial viability, said Harris, adding that he seeks full independence and control over revenue streams from his patrons.
Harris pointed to Patreon’s recent termination of Lauren Southern’s account. At the time, Southern said Patreon’s decision eliminated most of her income.
Patreon’s CEO subsequently denied that his company’s decision to terminate Southern’s account was motivated by political consideration.
Partial transcript below.
If you’re supporting [my] podcast through Patreon, you should’ve received an email from me announcing that I’ll be leaving the platform on September 1st… I don’t leave Patreon lightly. In fact, there are more people supporting me on Patreon than through my own website, but there are now many reasons why it’s become important that I consolidate support for the show on my site, however you might be interested to know the proximate cause of this decision.
I noticed the other day that Patreon cancelled the account of a conservative journalist - Lauren Southern - without warning, and without, as they stated, any possibility of appeal. Now, I’m not taking a position with respect to Southern - I’m actually not really familiar with her work - but this happened the same day that Richard Dawkins was deplatformed at UC Berkeley; and this is an action that should go down in the annals of [politically correct] insanity. This was right after his book, “The Selfish Gene,” was voted the most inspiring science book of all time in a public poll that was commissioned by the Royal Society, so the left continues to eat itself.
These events are part of a wave of deplatformings and demonitizations on YouTube and elsewhere, and it’s being driven almost entirely by leftist confusion about free speech. I consider myself well left-of-center on almost every topic, but this is just the Wild West out here in terms of people organizing campaigns of protest against totally legitimate and blameless scholars and journalists and scientists, and I realized that I just can’t afford to have this podcast be even slightly vulnerable to the whims of third-party.
I think the future of digital content lies in audience support, not in ads, and Patreon has really stepped into that space by itself. So please don’t get the wrong idea here, but in the current environment, I’ve decided I need full control over my platform. This could be a costly move, I recognize.
Harris concluded his explanation by inviting his supporters to support him directly through his website and outside of Patreon as an intermediary.
Listen to Harris' explanation for his forthcoming departure from Patreon below.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.