The first proper hearing in the dispute between crowd funding business Patreon and fans of the flat-Earth ally of Vox Day aka Own Benjamin took place today1 in California.
This is the “lawfare”/”replatforming” campaign I discussed in this post https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/vox-days-replatforming-backfires/ The concept is that members of the extreme right aim to use arbitration clauses in terms-of-service to make life difficult for any tech platform that cuts of access to right wing figures. In this case, former comedian Owen Benjamin was kicked off Patreon for violating Patreon’s community guidelines including “offensive public statements in which he blamed black people for AIDS, mocked Hollywood rape survivors, and targeted Jewish people for scorn on the basis of religion”2
Approximately 100 of Owen Benjamin’s supporters attempted to file for individual arbitration after he was kicked off Patreon. To forestall having to sit through multiple identical arbitration proceedings, Patreon changed their terms and have sought an injunction. Today’s hearing was an attempt to get a preliminary injunction on the arbitration proceedings.
The court made an tentative ruling today1 against the preliminary injunction in a Zoom video conference.
Suffice to say, that’s at least a minor win for the bad-guy’s team (not that Patreon are exactly good but they aren’t actively wishing we were all dead). Leading their case is Marc Randazza4 a controversial lawyer who is associated with far-right disinformation outlet InfoWars. Whatever Randazza’s ideological stance might be, he is not without some legal talent5.
I’ll keep keeping an eye on this. Vox Day appears happy, which is always a worry.
1[Timezone wise the date is yesterday for me (July 13) but it was just a few hours ago on July 14 here]
2[According to Patreon’s court documents: Exhibit A in DECLARATION…IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF PATREON, INC.’S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION CGC20584586 ]
3[ Court documents can be found by looking for “PATREON, INC. VS. PAUL MICHAEL AYURE ET AL” (Case Number: CGC20584586) at the Superior Court of California’s page https://www.sfsuperiorcourt.org/ The tentative ruling is under the ‘Calendar’ section]
5[For an interesting genre-connection with Randazza, he was involved in the copyright case where Paramount pictures attempted to squash the fan-made Star Trek film Axanar. Randazza made an interesting (and actually entertaining) claim that nobody could claim to own Klingon as a language https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/79378/9-best-parts-legal-brief-behalf-klingon-speakers However, cutesy use of Klingon doesn’t change some of his more sinister uses of the First Amendment eg https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/neo-nazi-andrew-anglin-first-amendment-judge-whitefish_n_5becc692e4b0dbb7ea66fa14?ri18n=true ]