Well, well, well. It seems that we now have one of the truest tests of Free Speech in the public space in the final quarter of 2018. And if you call yourself a Libertarian, you NEED to pay attention to this story as it unravels in the coming weeks. This will be a long article, but in the end, you’ll see why it was necessary for me to write about this specific event at length. It starts with a controversial YouTube livestream and it currently has led to censorship of a high degree. What will be tested for you, the reader, is whether or not you feel that people with extreme opinions should have the right to speak. I start off with introducing the livestream in question. The Killstream.
This stream is hosted by Ethan Ralph, the Editor in Chief and the owner of the Ralph Retort, a news site that reports on the Progressive Left through a critical lens. The news site itself has had some of its articles posted to the INFO WARS website, of Alex Jones fame, in recent years. Ethan Ralph has now brought his focus to hosting a livestream on YouTube called “The Killstream.” For full disclosure, I’ve been watching and enjoying The Killstream for a few years now. It was one of the livestreams that helped birth the recent trend of YouTube content that calls out and critiques those who are anti-free speech whether it be from the Right or the Left. Since I started watching the stream, it has evolved into something much more interesting, to say the least.
The Killstream in its current form is co-hosted by two men who go by The Gator Gamer and Zidan Lanciel respectively. The content ranges from current drama in certain YouTube circles and recent political topics, as well as being a platform that represents free speech above all else. This has made the show a hotbed for people with extreme political opinions, a lot of which land on the Alt-Right/Far Right side of the spectrum as well as the occasional Far-Left representative.
We’re not talking about the Ancaps vs. Ancoms Facebook group here. We’re talking debates about the Holocaust and discussions of the White Ethnostate. To give you an idea, previous guests have included the likes of Richard Spencer, the self-described “White Identitarian” who coined the term Alt-Right years ago. And before I go any further I must state the hosts of the Killstream are not racists of any kind or Far-Right. They simply are interested in the opinions of the extreme. They do not endorse the views of their guests, but will willingly host them. The stream itself, which runs every weeknight at 10 PM eastern time, nets about 6-8 thousand viewers and has for quite some time. When I first started watching it back in 2014, it was reaching anywhere from 30-100 people. Quite the step up.
Let’s get to why I’m writing about this man and his YouTube stream. About 1 month ago Ethan Ralph wanted to use a newly implemented version of YouTube’s SuperChat donation system. Regular Super Chats allow live viewers of a stream to donate to the streamer with a comment. Many streamers read those comments live on air. This new version is the optional “Super Chat for Good”. These donations go to a charity of the streamer’s choice from a list that YouTube provides. Ralph chose to host a stream called “The Healstream” and selected St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
The stream gained a very large audience, reaching over 7,000 at its height. The Healstream came with the usual controversy that the Killstream has been known for. One of the guests was Former British National Party Member Mark Collett. Ethan Ralph, very cheekily I might add, brought up the topic of the Holocaust. Mark Collett brought up his extreme skepticism of it to put it lightly.
One of the other present guests was YouTube content creator Atheism Is Unstoppable, otherwise known as Devon Tracey. Tracey, who currently resides in Germany engaged in a lengthy debate with Collett. The debate was very civil considering the subject matter. The audience, which is politically all over the place enjoyed the debate whether it be from agreeing with Mark Collett, agreeing with Devon Tracey, or just plain enjoying some verbal conflict on a charity stream meant to help raise money for children with cancer. Here’s the big kicker. This stream raised $27,000 US Dollars for St, Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
One month later I now inform you that YouTube has decided to, without notification, refunded all of the donations from this stream. This is largely due to a journalist from the Wall Street Journal named Yoree Koh contacting YouTube with the interest of doing an article on YouTube content creators making money off of controversial topics. The Killstream was specifically mentioned. This is confirmed by freelance journalist Nick Monroe being sent an e-mail from Koh to Ethan Ralph himself.
I have spoken with @TheRalphRetort and he has forwarded the email to me, from the Wall Street Journal reporter. (See the date as October 31st? That likely means the article was meant to come out on November 1st. )#WSJKillsKids pic.twitter.com/dfjqNZdPP7
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) November 2, 2018
YouTube has since terminated The Killstream channel for violations of their Terms of Service due to a recent stream in which Ralph, like most Killstreams before, read a few Super Chats that had some “spicy” commentary. As I write this article, YouTube has also removed all of Ethan Ralph’s associated channels on the platform, much in the vein of Alex Jones. Many YouTube personalities who have defended Free Speech have commented on this recent event, including Drama Alert’s Keemstar, also known as Daniel Keem as seen here:
— KEEM ? (@KEEMSTAR) November 2, 2018
— KEEM ? (@KEEMSTAR) November 2, 2018
And free speech activist Markus Meechan, likely better known as “Nazi Pug Guy” Count Dankula here:
The fact that WSJ are pressuring charities to refund money due to politics is disgusting. The money was to go towards sick kids with cancer, but WSJ are trying to take it away, just so they can get a win.
There is a silver lining, there is no way WSJ can recover from this.
— Count Dankula??????? (@CountDankulaTV) November 2, 2018
Now, as I said before, I watch and enjoy the Killstream when I get the chance. Does that mean I agree with a lot of the guests on the Killstream? Absolutely not. I am however a believer that as long as no violence is being promoted, that you can say whatever you want and have whatever opinion you like. I watch a lot of controversial content because I prefer to actually have an idea of why I disagree with a subject rather than engage in surface level political solipsism. I also disagree that simply letting extreme views be broadcast is in itself dangerous. I, for some reason in this day and age, still like to treat adults like they are rational people.
This was a guest article by internet connoisseur and self-described amateur pundit Tim McGillicuddy