Beware the Ides of March. That was the warning given to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play, and as it turns out, the alt-right should have brushed up on their theater classes. The white supremacist downfall that began in mid-March continues as the apparent MakerSupport shutdown leaves alt-right crowdfunding in the lurch with no available platform.
MakerSupport, a crowdfunding platform similar to Patreon, was founded last year by Conner Douglass, a Purdue University student. While looking at the front page, you wouldn’t notice any explicit connection to the alt-right. However, as ThinkProgress points out, there are certain dogwhistles that would appeal to white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. For example, the site originally stated, “There is no viewpoint discrimination on MakerSupport.”
But we don’t need to seek out subtle dogwhistles for evidence of MakerSupport’s courting of alt-right crowdfunding. That same build of the page proudly advertises that it “takes a smaller cut than any other platform. Yes, that includes Patreon and Hatreon!”
Hatreon was a short-lived crowdfunding platform that openly embraced the alt-right — as you might be able to tell from its portmanteau. In February, Hatreon claimed it would return after a system upgrade. That upgrade apparently still hasn’t happened, and all pledging is on hold.
Hatreon, MakerSupport and sites like it were created in response to mainstream crowdfunding platforms banning hate speech. But alt-right crowdfunding platforms had all fallen away save for MakerSupport. Richard Spencer even said MakerSupport was “all we’ve got.” (And his National Policy Institute would bring in almost $10,000 a year through MakerSupport.)
But now, with this apparent MakerSupport shutdown, there are no other options.
It should be noted that MakerSupport has not officially shut down. But, like Hatreon, it has gone dormant. Two weeks ago MakerSupport posted that its payment processor, Stripe, was conducting a “routine review … and put a short hold on payouts.” It claimed payouts would resume “in the next 4 to 5 days.” The post also promises a “big update coming soon.”
But since April 20, MakerSupport hasn’t responded to any of the many, many comments on the post or on its Twitter. Alt-right YouTubers are making videos attacking MakerSupport and accusing them of stealing money from creators.
This is just the latest in a series of blows to the U.S. white supremacist movement that started, as mentioned, right around the Ides of March. On March 12 it was reported that Spencer cancelled his college tour after being protested at every stop by anti-fascist protesters. Two days later, the news came out that Matthew Heimbach, head of the Traditionalist Worker Party, was arrested after a brawl with TWP spokesman Matthew Parrott. (The fight was about Heimbach allegedly sleeping with Parrott’s wife.)
Since those two stories, Atomwaffen, the white nationalist group implicated in five murders from May 2017 to January 2018, is splintering over accusations it’s a Satanist front. Stormfront, one of the biggest white supremacist websites, shut down earlier this month. And last week, two of Spencer’s Facebook groups were kicked off the platform.
Don’t mind us, we’ll just be over here munching on popcorn. We’re also declaring this the summer jam of 2018.