PayPal Cuts Off Pam Gellar
Pamela Gellar, whose Atlas Shrugs blog is devoted to exposing instances of Muslims behaving badly, dhimmitude sightings, anti-Zionist activities, and evidence Barack Obama is a secret Muslim reports that PayPal has threatened to freeze her account if she doesn’t take down the donation box from her site.
Apparently the jihad is hard at work trying to kill free speech (and the bus ads and the 9111 no mosque movement) from making its way to those in pursuit of truth. Paypal contributions helps pays for bus ads, rallies, live coverage (everything) and I so much as said so when asked repeatedly by the press who paid for the bus ads. Readers do and did.
Paypal is calling Atlas a “hate” site and will close my account if I do not remove the paypal option from my website. Accurate reporting and news is hate.
Full Disclosure: I’ve been a PayPal customer for more than a decade. I took down my PayPal tip jar years ago, feeling silly accepting donations once the site started generating ad revenue. But my most important ad networks use PayPal.
Does Gellar’s site “promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime” in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy? While it’s far too polemical for my tastes, I think it falls short of that. She’s passionately Likudist and opposed to the whitewashing of the legitimate horrors perpetrated in the name of Islam. But it’s not unreasonable to think regular readers who find her persuasive will have increased contempt for even mainstream Muslims and by extension most Arabs.
But PayPal gets to make the call, alas, putting the onus on those whose accounts they freeze to fight them. Gellar’s soliciting donations — via mail rather than PayPal! — to do just that. I am not a lawyer, but I think she’ll have a hard time. Moreover, as the old saying about our legal system goes, the process is the punishment. Even if she wins, it’ll cost her an inordinate amount of time and money. Almost certainly more than her PayPal account is worth.
Regardless, this isn’t a new issue. Indeed, Wizbang‘s Kevin Aylward and Daily Pundit‘s Bill Quick had similar horror stories back in 2004, related to posting cheesecake and hostage beheading images, respectively. As I wrote way back then:
PayPal is essentially without competition at the moment, so one’s options are limited. A practice I’ve adopted since Kevin’s announcement of his problem (and an unrelated problem that I had) is to immediately transfer any balance from my PayPal account to my bank account. PayPal has a habit of freezing the funds of people’s whose accounts are suspended.
I’ve been a little less aggressive about this lately, mostly out of laziness. But it’s good practice.
Alas, PayPal has a market dominance in online payments that Microsoft could have only dreamed of during its heyday. Regardless of your feelings about Gellar’s content, the power of a private business to decide what constitutes legitimate speech rather creepy.