White supremacist Richard Spencer banned from SoundCloud

'The less mainstream platforms that these people appear on, the more you will have to go on their websites and the less legitimacy they will have,' says expert

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The Independent US

Richard Spencer has had his podcast banned from SoundCloud because it violates the audio platform’s terms of use which explicitly forbid hate speech.

The leading white supremacist, who rose to fame for being punched at an anti-Trump protest, is credited with coining the term “alt-right” and used his podcast to discuss his controversial views with guests.

Noting that Mr Spencer’s “alt-right Radio” show did not fit with SoundCloud’s community guidelines, a freelance investigative journalist alerted the streaming site, which has 175 million monthly listeners, to the clash in ethics.

In a lengthy post on Twitter addressed to SoundCloud, Alex Kotch outlined Spencer’s political background and listed inflammatory statements he has made and controversies he had been involved in. He also shared a screen shot of an anti-Semitic response he himself had received since penning the public post in which the user asked: “What do you want SoundCloud to do? Mark his content with a star?”

“There is no question that Spencer & the 'Alt-right' traffic in hate speech. It is what they do to make themselves feel better,” Mr Kotch wrote.

“Take a listen to some of these recordings. You'll no doubt find countless examples of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, etc. Do the right thing. Abide by your own Terms of Use. Kick neo-Nazis & racist white nationalists off of SoundCloud.”

Listening to the concerns, SoundCloud decided to remove the podcast because it directly contravenes their terms of service. As such, his post now brings you to a page which says: “Nothing found!”.

The streaming site’s terms forbid “content that promotes or encourages hatred, discrimination or violence against others based on things like race, cultural identity or ethnic background, religious beliefs, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”

Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at anti-racism campaign Hope not Hate, told The Independent the decision marked a step in the right direction.

“A number of alt-right groups have used SoundCloud to disseminate racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist ideas, and sometimes holocaust denial. It is good news SoundCloud have taken a stand, hopefully, this is the start off a broader thing of taking hate offline.” 

“The less mainstream platforms that these people appear on, the more you will have to go on their websites and the less legitimacy they will have”.

Interestingly Mr Kotch said that while the podcast did not have many followers some of the podcasts had been listened to around 12,000 times.

One episode on the platform includes a discussion between Spencer and Paul Kersey, creator of the “Stuff Black People Don’t Like” website and a book of the same name which explores “the role Black-Run America (BRA) plays in solidifying the United States permanent decline”. In the show, Mr Kersey makes a number of racist bigoted assertions.

“Make America Great Again…That’s a synonym for Make America White Again,” Mr Kersey says. To which Spencer replies: “Mm-hmm.”

Mr Kersey chips in: “Because wherever America isn’t white, it’s not great. Wherever America is great, it’s white”, to which Spencer replies: “Yeah”.

“And wherever America is not safe, it’s not white. Wherever America is safe, it’s white,” Mr Kersey concludes.

Spencer appears yet to have publicly commented on the furore apart from a post on Twitter which said: “Alt-right_com has been no-platformed from SoundCloud despite the fact that I’ve used the service for years. Stay tuned for updates.”

A spokesperson for SoundCloud told The Independent why they had chosen to remove the podcast, saying: "SoundCloud is an open platform, so freedom of expression is important to maintain credibility and authenticity with our creators and users.

"While we clearly forbid content that promotes or incites hatred in our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines, we do not proactively monitor the platform for content that could be classified as hate speech. Instead, we rely on members of our community to flag this to us. Once flagged, our dedicated trust & safety team act quickly to review. If we determine that reported content is in violation of our Terms of Use, we promptly remove it from the platform."

A gym in Virginia recently removed Mr Spencer's membership after a university professor confronted him while he was working out and accused him of being a neo-Nazi.

Spencer, who became an overnight meme after a video of him being punched went viral, is a leader and spokesperson for the so-called “alt-right” movement – a political movement which has been accused of racism, antisemitism and misogyny and of sharing an ideology with far-right parties such as the French National Front. 

Spencer, who is president of the far-right National Policy Institute, has previously said he rejects the label of white supremacist and instead calls himself an “identitarian”. He supports a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to put a stop to the “deconstruction” of European culture. 

He once claimed: “Hispanics and African Americans have lower average IQs than whites and are more genetically predisposed to commit crimes.”

A representative for Spencer did not immediately respond to request for comment.