Another ideologically motivated deplatforming has taken place. Another appeasement of cancel culture and the online mob. This time, the email/contact management service provider Mailchimp has terminated the account of Stefan Molyneux, at the urging of Nandini Jammi, a co-founder of the far-left activist group Sleeping Giants.
I’m not here to defend Stefan Molyneux. I’m aware of him; but suffice it to say that I’m not a fan. Like most talking heads of the so-called alt right, Molyneux generates a lot more heat than light.
Stefan Molyneux is clearly no supporter of contemporary diversity agendas or open borders. But that mindset, like most mindsets, comes in degrees. Molyneux has been tarred by his detractors as a “white supremacist”. This is a bit like the folks on the right who liken Bernie Sanders to Stalin or Pol Pot, because they’re all socialists, after all….(And Bernie Sanders has expressed his admiration for the bloody Cuban revolution.)
As with Bernie Sanders, I have no doubt that it’s possible to comb through Molyneux’s copious online output (even his detractors admit that he’s prolific) and find some questionable statements. (I’m sure Bernie will find himself walking back that Cuba speech if he becomes the eventual Democratic nominee in 2020, by the way.) Molyneux spends a lot of time on YouTube and Twitter. He wouldn’t be the first person to say something idiotic, or at least regrettable, in the mosh pits of social media.
But if we’re going to call for Stefan Molyneux’s virtual head, then we also have to revisit the case of journalist Sarah Jeong.
Surely you remember that? It was a clear case of the double standards that so often apply to the definition of “hate speech”, and the enforcement of mob-defined speech codes.
In August 2018, after the New York Times named Jeong to the newspaper’s editorial board, it was found that Jeong made numerous racially charged, derogatory tweets like “cancel white people”. She called white people goblins, and even joked about white genocide.
But rather than applying speech standards impartially, leftwing outlets like Huffington Post and Vox tripped all over themselves making excuses for her. The New York Times, with full knowledge of Jeong’s problematic social media statements, went ahead with the hiring, too. Nor was Jeong banned from Twitter, which has deplatformed numerous individuals on the right in recent years.
I would also be willing to bet that neither Nandini Jammi nor her organization, Sleeping Giants, targeted Sarah Jeong for any sort of deplatforming campaign in the summer of 2018, less than two years ago.
Why? They likely see Jeong as one of their own.
And this is the main complaint with these things. There is a clear double standard in the way in which speech codes are assessed and enforced. If civility is to be the law of the land, then let’s apply that to everyone. But our media and tech companies are far more forgiving toward the Sarah Jeongs than they are toward the Stefan Molyneuxs. This proves that they aren’t really concerned about stopping hate speech or enforcing civility; they’re concerned about shutting down people who incur the wrath of the leftwing Internet mob.
Stefan Molyneux operates in the Wild West environment of social media. Sarah Jeong was being hired to sit on the editorial board of one of the world’s most esteemed (at one time, anyway) newspapers. Shouldn’t she have been judged by the more exacting standard? But Jeong was given a pass, and Molyneux was deplatformed.
And as for Mailchimp? It’s a bit disappointing that Mailchimp would take such an extreme action, based on a single communication from such an obviously fringe pressure group.
No, I’m not going to close with a call for a Mailchimp boycott. I have better things to do with my time. If you want to use Mailchimp, go ahead. It’s your email, after all.
Just make sure you don’t get on Nandini Jammi’s bad side; she obviously has veto power over whose data Mailchimp hosts.