Tommy Robinson, British reporter and commentator associated with the alt-right, was recently banned from using PayPal. In a livestream on Facebook, Robinson explains that he didn’t know about the situation until BBC news reported on it late last night.
Robinson’s business is completely donation funded, and as such, needs a way to receive payments without censorship. As a result, Robinson has resorted to the largest censorship resistant currency in the world: Bitcoin.
In the video, Robinson explains that “they haven’t given a reason” for shutting down his account. He also noted that he will be unable to contact PayPal for 180 days, effectively freezing his funds for six months. On Facebook, Robinson shared a screenshot of what PayPal looks like when he logs on:
It’s unclear at this time what violations prompted PayPal to ban Robinson from their platform. Robinson, considered a controversial figure by many, describes himself as a “best-selling author and independent reporter bringing you the truth and stories others try to hide.” Robinson has faced issues with bans in the past - earlier this year, he was banned from Twitter. To his Facebook post, he added:
Look at the PayPal Fascists, can't even explain what exactly I have done that is not inline with their User agreement . They steal our funds for 6 months? Screw Paypal and the establishment if you still want to support me you can do so without Paypal at www.supporttommy.com or using Bitcoin wallet 3MspPzwvsAwNHG2UsFMXzA6LVhHRqzajRc.
Robinson is not the first right-wing personality to be banned from PayPal. In the past year, PayPal has banned free-speech social media platform Gab - which saw Coinbase shut down its account this year - and right wing news site InfoWars from using their services. Both of these websites now accept Bitcoin.
In addition, WikiLeaks has been banned from PayPal since 2010. During that time, WikiLeaks announced that they would accept Bitcoin. Considering that Bitcoin was trading in the single digits at the time, this was big news for the flagship cryptocurrency, and led to many people learning about its benefits.
PayPal has not disclosed the reason for Robinson’s ban, but it could be due to his recent legal issues. In May of this year, Robinson was arrested for “breach of the peace” while reporting on the case of the Huddersfield grooming gang, a child sex abuse ring in the UK. In this case, Robinson was convicted for violating reporting restrictions that were imposed by the judge. Although initially sentenced to thirteen months in jail, he was later released on bail in August 2018 after it was found that his sentencing was unfair.