A neo-Nazi whose extremist podcast was de-platformed from YouTube and other social media sites found safety and expressive freedom on DLive, a new gaming livestreaming service that has become a haven for right-wing extremists, underscoring a reality that allows people who get chased into the shadows by lawsuits or deplatforming crusades to spread their message and make a profit even as they evade the law, reports CNN.
Robert Warren Ray, the creator of the extremist podcast The Krypto Report, was indicted in June 2018 for using tear gas on counter-protesters in Charlottesville, has flouted court orders and missed appearances in a civil case that names him as one of 24 defendants accused of conspiring to plan, promote and carry out the violent events there, and is currently a fugitive. During that time, he earned $15,000 on the DLive in just six months and quickly became one of the top 20 earners on platform, according to an analysis by online extremism expert Megan Squire of Elon University in North Carolina, who studied the period from April 2020 — the earliest data available — through mid-January 2021.
Nick Fuentes, part of a White nationalist group of young radicals called the Groypers who was also at the January 6 rally, took in about $114,000 in six months ending in January. Founded in 2017, DLive, which is owned by a 30-year-old Chinese national named Justin Sun, takes a 20 percent cut of its streamers’ revenue, according to its website.
Although DLive initially allowed far-right figures, it has purged several amid scrutiny in the wake of the deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6. Though they are blocked from using online payment services like PayPal and GoFundMe, far-right provocateurs gravitate towards cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and, because bitcoin’s volatile value has recently skyrocketed, some are now sitting on vast sums. The more obscure the cryptocurrency, the harder it is to track.