Speaking exclusively to National File, Lauren Southern revealed that she is taking the first steps into suing Patreon for deplatforming her.
Earlier this week, Patreon lost a lawsuit against fans of Owen Benjamin, who was kicked off the platform due to allegedly violating their policies on hate speech, inspiring Southern to take similar action against the platform.
Southern, the Canadian investigative journalist, was one of the first prominent conservatives to be removed from Patreon in 2017. Southern went on to crowd fund documentaries without the help of the platform.
Speaking to National File, Southern revealed that she is speaking with attorney Marc Randazza, the lawyer who handled the cases of the Owen Benjamin fans, on Friday “to see what steps we can take going forward with Patreon.”
“After the initial case was won this week, I tweeted that any former donors of mine should get in touch if they want to join us in an action against Patreon,” Southern told National File, before acknowledging that “While the initial judgement declared that ‘Patreon changed the rules in the middle of the game’ by changing their Terms of Service, this may not apply to our case.”
Southern continued, “If you have logged into Patreon and accept the new ToS, then you likely will not be eligible to join this action. However, anyone who has deleted their account since the ToS change, or simply not logged in, would not be affected by this.”
“If this is you, please send an email to [email protected],” said Southern. “I, of course, don’t want to say anything that may jeopardize any action we do take, but I will be providing updates in the future.”
If you fall into this category you can file yourself, but I've also spoken to legal counsel and would like to connect everyone. Send me an email to [email protected]
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) July 30, 2020
Patreon is expected to lose millions in legal fees after suing a group of Owen Benjamin fans who the comedian suggested sue the platform after he claimed it tortuously interfered with the business relationship between Benjamin and the Patreon subscribers who paid to receive his content.
Patreon’s terms included language that allowed any users of the platform to litigate their case individually under California’s JAMS arbitration scheme.
Under California law, Patreon would have to pay the arbitration fees up front, as each user would have to be dealt with on a one to one basis. These fees range from a few thousand dollars to over ten thousand dollars per case. It is unclear how many users intended to sue the platform…
The formal judgement was revealed on Wednesday, with the ruling being solidly based on previous California legal findings. Patreon will now have to go through arbitration with each of the fans, and will not be able to recoup any of the fees, even if they win the individual cases.
Patreon may face more lawsuits in the coming days in addition to Southern’s, as the precedent may allow the platform to be sued by other creators and fans of creators who have been removed from the platform, including Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad.