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Carl Benjamin (born c. 1979) is a British YouTuber, political commentator, anti-feminist and polemicist better known by his online alias Sargon of Akkad. Benjamin grew to prominence through the Gamergate controversy. Since Gamergate he has covered topics such as identity politics, the alt-right, Brexit, and political correctness.

Carl Benjamin
Carl Benjamin 2018.png
Benjamin in 2018
Personal information
Bornc. 1979[citation needed]
NationalityBritish[1]
OccupationYouTuber
YouTube information
Also known asSargon of Akkad
Channel
Years active2013–present
Subscribers
  • Sargon of Akkad: 918,550+
  • Sargon of Akkad Live: 165,200+
  • The Thinkery: 377,250+
  • Ancient Recitations: 76,180+
  • (as of March 10, 2019)
Total views
  • Sargon of Akkad: 268,617,700+
  • Sargon of Akkad Live: 23,852,000+
  • The Thinkery: 96,071,600+
  • Ancient Recitations: 6,000,000+
  • (as of March 10, 2019)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers 2015[2]
Subscriber and view counts updated as of March 10, 2019.

Contents

CareerEdit

Benjamin's YouTube channel first drew attention during the Gamergate controversy in 2014.[3][4] According to Inside Higher Ed, his videos on the topic advanced a conspiracy theory in which he argued that members of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) were actively plotting to influence video game development, saying that DiGRA "became co-opted by feminists to become a think tank by which gender ideologues can disseminate their ideology to the gaming press and ultimately to gamers."[5]

In June 2015, YouTube took down one of Benjamin's videos when it received a copyright claim from The Guardian.[6] Benjamin contested the claim against the video, which used substantial portions of The Guardian's video. The Guardian said it was offering "advice on how to engage with Guardian content without breaching copyright". The video was restored later the same day.[6] One Los Angeles Times columnist wrote of the incident calling it "alarming to see copyright law used to stifle debate in the public square".[6]

In May 2016, in response to Labour Party politician Jess Phillips' statement that rape threats are commonplace for her, Benjamin said "I wouldn't even rape you" in a YouTube video and repeated this on Twitter.[7][8][9] Benjamin declined to apologise for the comment.[8]

At VidCon 2017, Anita Sarkeesian appeared on a panel discussing online harassment directed towards women. A group of YouTubers who had frequently criticised Sarkeesian in the past, including Benjamin, filled one-half of the first three rows of the audience and filmed Sarkeesian as part of a targeted harassment campaign against her.[10][11][12][13] Sarkeesian singled out Benjamin as a serial harasser of hers, calling him a "garbage human".[14][13][15] VidCon founder Hank Green issued a statement that the group's actions were clear "intimidating behaviour", and apologised for the situation "which resulted in [Sarkeesian] being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for".[11][10] Benjamin later said he was not present with the intention of harassing Sarkeesian, stating he would like to know how she "would like to be approached".[11] Patreon also investigated the claims of harassment but determined that although they considered his actions "distasteful", Benjamin had not violated their code of conduct.[10]

In March 2018, North London Antifa protesters broke into a scheduled discussion between Benjamin and Yaron Brook by King's College's Libertarian Society at the school. Masked protestors attacked security guards, set off smoke bombs, broke windows, and allegedly attacked other attendees. The event organisers called the police, cancelled the event, and evacuated the building. The organiser reported that two security guards were hospitalised.[16][7]

Patreon banned Benjamin in December 2018; at the time he was earning over US$12,000 a month.[3] According to Patreon, Benjamin violated the site's rules on hate speech by using "racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual".[17][18] A number of users, including Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin and Sam Harris, left the platform following the ban of Benjamin. Harris stated that he did not "share the politics of the banned members," but objected to what he described as "political bias" on Patreon. As part of their explanation for why they dropped Benjamin, Patreon published a transcript of a YouTube video in which Benjamin stated that members of the alt-right were "acting like white niggers" because "Exactly how you describe black people acting is the impression I get dealing with the Alt Right" and "White people are meant to be polite and respectful to one another."[19] Benjamin, in response, has said that his targets were not black or homosexual, and claimed that the word "nigger" is not offensive in Britain like it is in the United States.[20]

Political viewsEdit

Benjamin identifies as a classical liberal.[21][22] Vox has described Benjamin as anti-progressive[23] and Nieman Journalism Lab,[24] Vice,[25] and Mic[26] have described him as "right-wing". He is a prominent critic of feminism and identity politics.[27][19][1][3] Benjamin has opposed online feminist movements, such as the British group 'Reclaim the Internet', which he called "social communism".[8] The Daily Dot described the targets of Benjamin's criticism – such as feminism, Islam, Black Lives Matter, and the overall notion of straight white male privilege – as the same as those of the alt-right and stated of a video by Benjamin titled "An Honest Look at the Alt Right" that "[a]lthough [Benjamin] criticizes the alt-right for collectivist and authoritarian thinking, he argues that they’re reacting to a comparable amount of racism from the left."[4] Newsweek has reported that he has "links" to the alt-right and Salon has described him as an "alt-right sympathiser" whereas Business Insider has said that he "opposes" the alt-right.[19][28][29] Benjamin has denied ties to the alt-right.[30]

In May 2018, Benjamin was a speaker at a right-wing "Day of Freedom" rally in support of Tommy Robinson after Robinson was banned from Twitter for hate speech.[31][32] In June 2018, Benjamin joined the UK Independence Party.[33] Benjamin is a vocal advocate of Brexit.[7][34][35]

ReceptionEdit

Benjamin has been characterised as "deliberately provocative",[4] and "unabashedly politically incorrect".[6] In a November 2016 opinion piece, Vice criticized Benjamin for what they characterized as a "sense of purist thinking and a logic-before-all attitude", that ignores the complexity of topics related to race and gender, likening him to Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for InfoWars.[25] Both Vice magazine and PC Magazine have described him as a conspiracy theorist.[36][37] Breitbart London editor James Delingpole describes him as a "leftist libertarian" and a more "erudite and polite" version of Paul Joseph Watson who targets "identity politics, Social Justice Warriors, and third-wave feminism".[33][38]

Personal lifeEdit

Benjamin is married and a father of two children. He and his family live in Swindon, England.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "How a right-wing troll and a Russian Twitter account created 2016's biggest voter fraud story". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  2. ^ Benjamin, Carl (25 April 2015). "100,000 Subscriber Vlog and Recommendations". YouTube. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Bowles, Nellie (December 24, 2018). "Patreon Bars Anti-Feminist for Racist Speech, Inciting Revolt". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Rozsa, Matthew (7 September 2016). "A Deep Dive into the Alt-right's Greatest YouTube Hits". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  5. ^ Straumstein, Carl (11 November 2014). "#Gamergate and Games Research". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Healey, Jon (11 June 2015). "The Guardian uses copyright to shush a critic of its cultural criticism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 May 2016. Sargon used seemingly every frame from Anyangwe's 3-minute, 49-second video. He found fault with most of the points she made, as well as the way she made them. After watching his piece, it's clear that there's no point in going to the Guardian's site to see the original because he's just shown you the whole thing.
  7. ^ a b c "Fights break out at King's College London as masked anti-fascist protesters storm talk". The Independent. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  8. ^ a b c d Daubney, Martin (5 June 2016). "I set out to troll her – why all this fuss about 600 rape tweets?". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  9. ^ Macwhirter, Jamie (23 September 2018). "'Racist' troll who sent rape tweet addresses Ukip members". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 2019-03-08 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  10. ^ a b c Mulkerin, Tim (28 June 2017). "Exclusive: Patreon investigated YouTuber "Sargon of Akkad" over VidCon harassment". mic.com. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "VidCon apologizes for panelist clash involving activist Anita Sarkeesian". The Daily Dot. 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
  12. ^ Lockett, Dee. "The 10 Biggest YouTube Dramas of 2017". Vulture. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  13. ^ a b Marwick, Alice E.; Caplan, Robyn (26 March 2018). "Drinking male tears: language, the manosphere, and networked harassment". Feminist Media Studies. 18 (4): 543–559. doi:10.1080/14680777.2018.1450568. ISSN 1468-0777.
  14. ^ Aghazadeh, Sarah A.; Burns, Alison; Chu, Jun; Feigenblatt, Hazel; Laribee, Elizabeth; Maynard, Lucy; Meyers, Amy L. M.; O’Brien, Jessica L.; Rufus, Leah (21 July 2018). GamerGate: A Case Study in Online Harassment. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 179–207. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-78583-7_8. ISBN 9783319785820.
  15. ^ Campbell, Colin (27 June 2017). "Anita Sarkeesian's astounding 'garbage human' moment". Polygon. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ "Violence breaks out as protesters storm King's College London event featuring controversial YouTuber". The Telegraph. 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  17. ^ "PayPal shuts Russian crowdfunder's account after alt-right influx". Financial Times. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  18. ^ Goggin, Benjamin. "Top Patreon creators, of the 'Intellectual Dark Web,' say they're launching an alternate crowdfunding platform not 'susceptible to arbitrary censorship'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  19. ^ a b c Goggin, Benjamin (December 18, 2018). "Crowdfunding platform Patreon defends itself from protests by 'intellectual dark web,' publishes slur-filled posts from banned YouTuber". Business Insider. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  20. ^ Feder, J. Lester. "Steve Bannon Met A White Nationalist Facebook Personality During London Trip". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  21. ^ O'Mahoney, Eleanor (3 October 2018). "Pushing Free Speech, New Student Group Seeks Society Status". The University Times. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Sargon of Akkad: Classical Liberal or Libertarian? (Part 2)". Youtube. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  23. ^ Romano, Aja (30 June 2017). "Gorilla memes, YouTube trolls, and McMansion copyright fights: this week in internet culture". Vox. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  24. ^ Ryan, Padraic (22 May 2017). ""Who's your 4chan correspondent?" (and other questions Storyful thinks newsrooms should be asking after the French election)". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  25. ^ a b Bish, Joe (20 November 2016). "Examining the Right Wing British Blowhards Using YouTube to 'Prove Everybody Wrong'". Vice. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  26. ^ Smith IV, Jack (20 March 2017). "YouTube's LGBTQ restriction isn't censorship. It's laziness". Mic. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  27. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (3 March 2018). "YouTube Cracks Down on Far-Right Videos as Conspiracy Theories Spread". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  28. ^ EDT, Jason Lemon On 6/25/18 at 5:13 PM (25 June 2018). "Controversial alt-right linked social media activists welcomed as members of Britain's UKIP". Newsweek. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  29. ^ Rozsa, Matthew (15 February 2017). "How PewDiePie 'fudged the labels' to avoid anti-Semitism claims because of his YouTube videos". Salon. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  30. ^ Menegus, Bryan (27 February 2017). "Prominent YouTubers Find Great Anti-Semitic Hill to Die on". Gizmodo. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  31. ^ Gayle, Damien (2018-05-06). "Thousands march in 'free speech' protest led by rightwing figures". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  32. ^ Coulter, Martin (6 May 2018). "Milo Yiannopoulos expected to speak at controversial far-right rally in central London". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  33. ^ a b Delingpole, James (14 July 2018). "Ukip's on the verge of a spectacular comeback – and it's all thanks to Theresa May". The Spectator. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  34. ^ Halliday, Josh (2018-07-12). "Anti-Islam activists get key roles in 'family-friendly' Brexit march". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-18.
  35. ^ Benjamin, Carl (15 June 2016). "The Financial Argument for #Brexit (#VoteLeave #VoteRemain #StrongerIn)". YouTube. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  36. ^ Gilbert, David (2018-12-07). "Crowdfunding site Patreon is purging far-right figures". Vice News. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  37. ^ Jan 2019, Adam Smith 17; P.m, 1:32 (17 January 2019). "YouTube Bans Tommy Robinson From Making Money Off His Videos". PCMag UK. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  38. ^ Delingpole, James (8 January 2019). "Patreon, Carl Benjamin and the New Puritanism". The Spectator. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External linksEdit