Since I first talked about the issue with Nazis on Substack there have been many words spent on the Substack Nazi issue, and while it seems that much has been done, Substack itself has done as little as possible. As of Jan 9th 2024 they’ve committed to removing 5 Nazi publications. None of them were monetized and together they accounted for 100 readers. This amounts to doing worse than nothing, because they’re merely hoping to placate the current uproar, not make any substantial change.
This is inline with my expectations, as I said on January 3rd, Nazi’s have money and Substack likes money so they’re willing to take money from Nazi’s. Substack is continuing to duck and cover behind “free speech”, figuring that free speech is such a high minded American thing that people will rush to their defence.
But Substack is not about free speech. They don’t allow pornography, though they’ll allow “art” nudes, and they get to decide where that line is.
Substack currently treats nudes as if they’re more of a danger to free speech than hate and fascism. That’s backwards. Progressives on the platform should demand better. Ban Nazis, Unban Sex Workers on Substack
This is all a branding thing for Substack. They’re not required by law to allow all types of content on their site, they get to decide what they want…and dang, it they want Nazis, but no porn. That’s their brand.
As I’ve read about the Nazi issue I’ve thought about a story I once heard. A guy sits at a bar and orders a beer. A few minutes later another guy sits down beside him and orders a beer but when the bartender looks at him he is told right away to leave. When there are protests about “just sitting ordering a beer” the bartender grabs a bat from under the table and says “Get the fuck out now and don’t come back”. The second guy leaves.
In the story the bartender saw a Nazi symbol tattooed discretely on the second patron and knows that if he lets a “reasonable/nice” guy sit because he’s not creating a problem, it won’t be long before that guy brings a friend who also seems okay, but then the people will not be so nice and suddenly you’re in a Nazi bar. So you have to stomp on it hard and swift with no exceptions as soon as you see it.
Substack is part way into becoming that Nazi bar, and they’re past the part where the Nazis are “nice reasonable people who don’t make a fuss and just hang out”, they’ve got some of the jerk friends showing up already.
As it stands, I still won’t renew any subscriptions to writers on Substack and I won’t subscribe to any new writers on Substack, free or paid. I have subscribed to a number of writers that have left Substack though.
I don’t fault people that are being slow to move from Substack to some other platform. They wanted to write about their ideas and maybe have some money to feed themselves. They didn’t want to get into a debate.