It is reported that PayPal has shut down the fundraising accounts of white supremacist groups and others involved in, and supporting, recent events in Charlottesville, USA and who may who have been using the payments service to fund activities. You can read the full commentary from PayPal here.
PayPal said: “It is with heavy hearts that we reflect upon the recent events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. Lives lost due to hatred and intolerance are a tragedy for every person in our nation. The PayPal community was appalled by the events that transpired – and our hearts go out to the people of Charlottesville and all who have been touched by this unacceptable hatred and violence. PayPal strives to navigate the balance between freedom of expression and open dialogue – and the limiting and closing of sites that accept payments or raise funds to promote hate, violence and intolerance.”
For PayPal it seems like their long-stated anti-hate policy clearly prohibits such donations:
“Regardless of the individual or organization in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance. This includes organizations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups.
If we become aware of a website or organization using our services that may violate our policies, our highly trained team of experts addresses each case individually and carefully evaluates the website itself, any associated organisations, and their adherence to our policy.”
It’s a interesting moral stand from a US company that is governed by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. And many PayPal users will disagree with it. But it’s also hardly the first time that PayPal has done something along these lines: they have a solid heritage of corporate political activism.
Certainly to European eyes what’s going over in the US right now with regards to racism and anti-semitism is particularly bizarre and harrowing (and many yanks I know are appalled too). It’s hard to say though how PayPal’s stance will impact the situation. But perhaps most notable is the language they use in their statement. It speaks to the character of the company and senior staff admirably.