Subscribestar is profiting from conspiracy theorists, QAnon influencers, and white nationalists -- despite its rules
The subscription platform, which bans misinformation and discrimination, hosts numerous extremist accounts
Subscribestar, a platform that allows content creators to run subscriptions for profit, is hosting accounts associated with numerous prominent conspiracy theories -- including QAnon -- as well as white nationalism. Some of these users, like Infowars’ Alex Jones, have previously been banned from other platforms, and they are all seemingly in violation of the company’s own rules. In some cases, Subscribestar has profited from these accounts.
According to Subscribestar’s Terms of Service, users are prohibited from using the platform to “harass, abuse, insult, harm, defame, slander, disparage, intimidate, or discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, race, age, national origin, or disability.” They also may not “submit false or misleading information.” And no “posts, comments, narrations, news or discussion materials” may include “hatred toward any social or ethnic group, calls for violence or oppression, racial or gender defamation” or target “a person or a group by disability, nationality (including citizenship), race, religion, sexual orientation, or skin color.”
The rules also mention that “people with a proven criminal history or with a known affiliation with violent or dangerous groups (e.g. organized criminal groups, terrorist or cyber-terrorist organizations, illegal militias, mercenary organizations, violent hate groups, etc)” are not allowed to use Subscribestar and “will be terminated upon discovery [of] such activities.”
Despite those rules, a Media Matters review has found at least 19 Subscribestar accounts associated with conspiracy theories, QAnon, and white nationalism -- including figures associated with the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in August 2017. In some cases, the platform is making money off these accounts from service fees. As of late November, those 19 accounts combined appeared to be earning more than $28,700 per month (before the platform takes a percentage). This means that not only are these creators profiting from misinformation and hate -- the platform is as well.
We found the below accounts in our review. For some, we were able to calculate the amount they have made from the platform (before whatever cut Subscribestar might take):
- Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars. Jones appears to be making at least $4,261 a month from the platform.
- Owen Shroyer, an Infowars host who was arrested for allegedly participating in the Capitol insurrection. Shroyer appears to be making at least $1,950 a month from the platform.
- Paul Joseph Watson, a far-right conspiracy theorist who rose to prominence as an Infowars personality. It is not clear how much money Watson makes from the platform, though he has nearly 1,300 subscribers and his lowest tier plan charges followers $5 monthly.
- Jason Kessler, a white nationalist who organized the “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville in 2017. The platform lists Kessler’s account as being “under review” and states that “after this page is approved, you will be able to subscribe [to it] as usual.” Kessler is listing subscription tier plans starting at $5 per month.
- Vincent James Foxx, a white nationalist and Holocaust denier. Foxx is banned from streaming platforms YouTube and DLive and was near the United States Capitol during the January 6 insurrection; he has also criticized former President Donald Trump for not “back[ing] his supporters during the Capitol siege” as well as for not pardoning them after. Foxx appears to be making at least $3,346 a month from the platform.
- Patrick Casey, former leader of the “retired” white nationalist group Identity Evropa, which helped organize the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Casey is also a former “Groyper,” a specific group of racists and antisemites affiliated with white nationalist Nick Fuentes. It is not clear how much money Casey makes from the platform, though he has more than 50 subscribers and his lowest tier plan charges followers $5 per month.
- RedPill78, a QAnon show whose host, Zak Paine, participated in part of the Capitol insurrection. RedPill78 appears to be making at least $2,200 a month from the platform.
- Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a QAnon influencer known online as “Tore” who has targeted elected officials for harassment. It is not clear how much money Maras-Lindeman makes from the platform, though she has written that her Subscribestar page has “a steady 90-150 subscribers - that's my actual INCOME,” and her lowest tier plan charges followers $5 per month.
- Jordan Sather, a QAnon influencer known for pushing antisemitism and urging people to ingest bleach as a way of treating symptoms of COVID-19. It is not clear how much money Sather makes from the platform, though he has nearly 90 subscribers and his lowest tier plan charges followers $3 per month.
- SGT Report, a QAnon show that was banned from YouTube and Patreon. SGT Report appears to be making at least $4,472 a month from the platform.
- Tracy “Beanz” Diaz, a conspiracy theorist who was reportedly one of the three main figures who popularized QAnon. Diaz appears to be making at least $1,968 a month from the platform.
- Lauren Southern, who is known for having worked with far-right European figures to try to stop a ship rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean Sea and for producing a film about supposed “white genocide” in South Africa. Southern appears to be making at least $2,840 a month from the platform.
- Red Ice TV, a white nationalist channel that has been banned from YouTube. Red Ice TV appears to be making at least $3,910 a month from the platform.
- Faith Goldy, a Canadian white nationalist and former candidate for mayor of Toronto. It is not clear how much money Goldy makes from the platform, though her page says she’s raised at least $2,000 thus far.
- Black Pigeon Speaks, a far-right YouTube commentator identified by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center as “xenophobic, misogynist,” and “anti-Semitic” and as one of the “shapers of a global white nationalist movement.” Black Pigeon Speaks also previously amplified a 4chan campaign targeting women and Muslims. The Subscribestar account for Black Pigeon Speaks appears to be making at least $786 a month.
- Marcus Follin, a Swedish white nationalist known online as “The Golden One” who has supported the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Follin appears to be making at least $592 a month from the platform.
- Devon Stack, a conspiracy theorist known online as “Black Pilled” who has authored a book titled The Day of the Rope, a reference to a white supremacist fantasy about the “mass lynchings of purported ‘race traitors.’” He has also called participants in the Capitol insurrection “freedom fighters.” Stack appears to be making at least $2,128 a month from the platform.
- Ethan Ralph, a podcast host who is known for associating with white nationalists and who was banned from YouTube. Ralph has also defended those not accepting what he described as the “official narrative” around the Holocaust. Ralph appears to be making at least $92 a month from the platform.
- God and Guns, a podcast which affiliates itself with the militia group the Oath Keepers on its Subscribestar page. God and Guns appears to be making at least $185 from the platform.