I’ve written a comment piece for the Telegraph about PayPay’s decision to close the Daily Sceptic’s account, the Free Speech Union’s account and my personal account. Here’s an extract:
I appealed the decision in all three cases, but was unsuccessful. I wrote to the CEO of PayPal UK – Vincent Belloc – and got no reply. I contacted the Corporate Affairs Department, asking for some kind of explanation, and heard nothing.
Then, on Monday, I got a message on my Daily Sceptic PayPal account from someone in ‘Executive Escalations’ saying my ‘complaint’ – I hadn’t actually complained — had not been accepted. He didn’t say what I’d done wrong, but included this sentence, implying this was the rule I’d broken: “PayPal’s policy is not to allow our services to be used for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance.”
I’m at a loss as to what the Daily Sceptic has ever published that could possibly fall into those categories, but I know from defending feminists at the FSU that ‘hate’ is often used to mean ‘a point of view I disagree with’.
For instance, last year we went in to bat for the women’s rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen after she had a petition removed from Change.org. Her petition, which had several thousand signatures, asked the Oxford English Dictionary not to change the definition of woman from ‘adult human female’ to something else. Change.org removed it on the grounds that defining a woman that way was ‘hate speech’.
The view that sex, like gender, is a social construct and therefore not binary and immutable, is one of five sacred nostrums that you’re no longer allowed to challenge on most mainstream forums, particularly those owned by tech companies in Silicon Valley.
The others are: the lockdown policy and associated Covid restrictions were a prudent response to the pandemic; the mRNA vaccines are safe and efficacious; we’re in the midst of a ‘climate emergency’ and the only solution is to achieve ‘net zero’ by 2050 (preferably earlier); and the West should continue to supply arms and aid to Ukraine.
If you express scepticism about any of these holy precepts, you can expect to find yourself in trouble, whether it’s being kicked off social media platforms, no-platformed from university campuses, or being placed under investigation at work. Often, the people targeted for cancellation in this way are told it’s because they’re guilty of spreading ‘misinformation’ – another synonym for ‘a point of view I disagree with’, and, incidentally, a breach of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy.
The Daily Sceptic frequently publishes dissenting opinions about all five shibboleths, and I’ve expressed scepticism about the first four, so I suspect that’s why we’ve been demonetised by PayPal.
But why close the FSU’s account as well? The FSU is a non-partisan organisation and doesn’t have an opinion on any these issues, just defends the right of those who do to express them freely. For a big tech company to deplatform an individual for saying something politically contentious has become fairly commonplace over the last two or three years – even the president of the United States isn’t immune. But to demonetise an organisation merely for defending the right to free speech? That’s a new low.