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5 Mar, 2020 14:27

YouTube demonetizes Sargon of Akkad’s last channel — what’s big tech’s problem with him?

YouTube demonetizes Sargon of Akkad’s last channel — what’s big tech’s problem with him?

Political YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as Sargon of Akkad, recently saw his new daily news channel Akkad Daily demonetized. This is not the first time Benjamin has been punished by YouTube, and it may not be the last.

I had the chance to meet Carl Benjamin face to face at the International Conference on Men’s Issues in 2019. We spoke a bit about recent internet controversies, and I wondered to myself why exactly progressives found the man so threatening and detestable.

Obviously, it’s because he is a vocal opponent of identity politics in the online sphere — but he isn’t alone in this worldview. There are multiple YouTube channels that decry identity politics and social justice warriors. Few have suffered the same level of deplatforming that Benjamin has had. His other channels had already been completely demonetized, and outside of YouTube, he’s been banned from Twitter, and then from Patreon. However, all that had to start from somewhere, and YouTube is where Benjamin made his bones.

As time has gone on, his opposition to identity politics has been a constant about Benjamin’s content. When it comes to what some call ‘anti-SJW’ content creators, Benjamin is one of the biggest names. He has three channels, each having hundreds of thousands of subscribers. He’s debated socialists and white nationalists, and recently won a lawsuit when one tried to sue him over a response video. Benjamin is opposed to identity-based arguments no matter what side of the aisle you may happen to sit on. Whatever you may think of him, he’s been consistent in that regard. And YouTube thrives on identity politics.

The official reason for the demonetization of Benjamin’s most recent channel is “harassment.” Harassment of whom though? He says he’s been given no further explanation, and even when he contacted support, he was told the decision “needs to be further reviewed.”

Much of Benjamin’s content is reactionary in nature, where he offers his commentary on events or stories that have already happened. This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon on YouTube. When you compare YouTube’s treatment of Benjamin compared to, say, The Young Turks, there’s a rather obvious bias.

Many of The Young Turks’ commentators tend to peddle identity politics like Starbucks does coffee. They are, after all, considered to be the biggest progressive news organization you’ll find outside of major networks. YouTube is directly funding a Young Turks online course in regards to media. The head of The Young Turks and recently failed politician Cenk Uygur apparently has a good relationship with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Now, there’s definitely some understanding as to why, given that the views the network brings in likely make YouTube quite a bit of money. But so do content creators like Sargon of Akkad, through ads. Why the favoritism?

Ultimately, it comes down to politics. YouTube has chosen sides when it comes down to it, which is something a platform should never do. If you have the ability to have both sides of the aisle come to you and make your platform oodles of cash, why not have at it as long as no one gets hurt? That would be the smart decision, but when it comes to Carl Benjamin, the smart decision isn’t being made.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.