PayPal has terminated the account of domain registrar and web hosting company Epik for violating its “risk controls,” prompting angry letters and blog posts from Epik alleging conservative bias was to blame, Mashable reported.
Seattle-based Epik is perhaps best known for its support of right-wing social media site Gab. The site was banned by its hosting company, domain registrar, and PayPal in 2018, after it was discovered that the alleged shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue had written anti-Semitic tirades on Gab. In a 2018 blog post, Epik CEO Robert Monster criticized what he called the “digital censorship” by other sites.
According to Mashable, the issue that got Epik kicked off PayPal has to do with Epik’s digital “alternative currency” Masterbucks. It can be used to buy Epik products or converted into US dollars, and Mashable reports Epik did not take proper legal steps to run the digital currency.
But in an open letter to PayPal employees dated October 19th and posted to Epik’s blog, Epik senior vice president for strategy and communications Robert Davis said PayPal’s actions amounted to “abuse of power and overreach by a de facto monopoly,” and questioned the timing of PayPal’s decision.
“It would appear that in a direct effort to silence conservative voices, PayPal has terminated our payment services— just two weeks before a Presidential election,” Davis writes in the post, echoing a common— but thoroughly debunked— complaint about online anti-conservative bias.
Epik did not immediately reply to a request for comment Sunday.
In a six-page letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman dated October 13th, Davis writes that Epik “has zero tolerance toward racism, believes itself to be a force for good in the fight against inequality,” before launching into a litany of bizarre and seemingly unrelated complaints about Hollywood, Hunter Biden, the Democratic Party, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Davis also asserted that Epik “has been targeted and past labeled in horrifically unfair ways that did not reflect either its actions or its core beliefs.”
A PayPal spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge on Sunday that “PayPal has sophisticated risk controls in place to alert our teams to potentially violative activity occurring on our platforms. The company independently reviews each matter and bases its decisions on the management of risk and compliance with our long-standing User Agreement.”