Carl Benjamin

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Carl Benjamin
Carl Benjamin, 2016.jpg
Benjamin on Louder with Crowder, 2016
Personal information
Born c. 1979[citation needed]
Nationality British[1]
Occupation YouTuber
YouTube information
Also known as Sargon of Akkad
Channel
Years active 2013–present
Subscribers
  • 843,500+ (Sargon of Akkad)
  • 159,400 (Sargon of Akkad Livestreams)
  • 290,500 (The Thinkery)
  • 72,400 (Ancient Recitations)
  • (as of August 29, 2018)
Total views
  • 241,871,000 (Sargon of Akkad)
  • 21,989,000 (Sargon of Akkad Livestreams)
  • 67,158,000 (The Thinkery)
  • 5.403,000 (Ancient Recitations)
  • 336,421,000 (total)
  • (as of August 29, 2018)
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2015[2]
Subscriber and view counts updated as of 25 June 2018.

Carl Benjamin (born c. 1979) is a British YouTuber, better known by the online alias Sargon of Akkad. The alias, which is also the name of his main YouTube channel, is taken from the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, Sargon of Akkad.[3] Benjamin grew to prominence through the Gamergate controversy and early videos supporting antifeminism. Since then he has covered topics such as identity politics and the alt-right.

YouTube career[edit]

Benjamin's early YouTube videos often promoted antifeminism.[3] His channel first drew attention during the Gamergate controversy in 2014,[4] when he argued in one of his videos that members of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) were actively plotting to influence video game development to conform to their "ideological feminist agenda".[5] He stated that the research produced by DiGRA board members was "sloppy and unprofessional and absolutely overrun by people who have an ideological agenda that they simply cannot leave out of their research".[5] An Inside Higher Ed article described these allegations as a "conspiracy theory".[5]

In June 2015, YouTube took down one of Benjamin's videos when it received a copyright claim from The Guardian.[6] Benjamin contested the claim against the video, which used substantial portions of The Guardian's video. The Guardian said it was offering "advice on how to engage with Guardian content without breaching copyright". The video was restored later the same day.[6] One Los Angeles Times columnist wrote of the incident calling it "alarming to see copyright law used to stifle debate in the public square".[6]

In May 2016, in response to Labour Party politician Jess Phillips' statement that rape threats are commonplace for her, Benjamin said "I wouldn't even rape you" in a YouTube video and repeated this on Twitter.[1][3][7][8] Benjamin declined to apologise for the comments.[8]

In early 2017 Benjamin created a YouTube video and a Thunderclap with 13,165 supporters in defence of YouTube personality PewDiePie following a controversy about PewDiePie's satirical use of anti-Semitic imagery.[9][10]

At VidCon 2017, Anita Sarkeesian appeared on a panel discussing online harassment directed towards women. Benjamin and some of his allies, who had frequently criticised Sarkeesian in the past, coordinated to fill the first three rows in the audience and film Sarkeesian as part of a targeted harassment campaign against her.[11][12][13][14] Sarkeesian singled out Benjamin as a serial harasser of hers, calling him a "garbage human".[15] VidCon founder Hank Green issued a statement stating that Benjamin's and his allies' actions were clear "intimidating behaviour", and apologised for the situation "which resulted in [Sarkeesian] being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for".[11] Benjamin later said he was not present with the intention of harassing Sarkeesian stating he would like to know how she "would like to be approached".[12] Patreon also investigated the claims of harassment but determined that although they considered his actions "distasteful", Benjamin had not violated their code of conduct.[11]

Benjamin described some of Harvey Weinstein's sexual abuse victims as "gold-digging whores".[16]

His videos have been credited with popularising Kekistan, a fictional country and political meme originated on 4chan.[17]

Benjamin has other YouTube channels where he has hosted live streams with guests such as American comedian JonTron[18][7] and Dave Rubin.[19] He has appeared as a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience in June 2017,[20] and The Rubin Report.[21][non-primary source needed]

Game development[edit]

In March 2014, Benjamin was involved in a Kickstarter campaign created to fund the development of a video game called Necromancer.[22] It raised £8,016, just beating the goal of £8,000. Benjamin took the role of programmer and co-designer for the game.[23] However, by June 2016, the game had not been released and all supporters were refunded.[24]

Political views[edit]

Benjamin identifies as a classical liberal.[21] The New York Times said that Benjamin criticises feminism and identity politics.[25] Vox has described Benjamin as anti-progressive[26] and Nieman Journalism Lab,[27] Vice Magazine,[1] and Mic[28] have described him as "right-wing", while Redbrick[3] and Salon[10] have described him as "alt-right" and an "alt-right sympathiser", respectively. Benjamin has denied associations with the alt-right.[9] He has criticised the alt-right for "collectivist" and "authoritarian" thinking, and argued that the movement is a reaction to comparable leftist racism.[4] A piece in The Daily Dot said that Benjamin is not part of the alt-right, although his videos concern "favourite alt-right targets [such as] feminism, Islam, Black Lives Matter, and the notion of straight white male privilege".[4]

Benjamin has opposed online feminist movements, such as the British group 'Reclaim the Internet', which he called "social communism".[3][8] He has been characterised as "deliberately provocative",[4] "unabashedly politically incorrect",[6] and "anti-progressive."[26] He has been cited as one of the "most controversial YouTubers" by WatchMojo, who claimed that he "clearly doesn't shy away from saying stuff that others find offensive."[29] In a November 2016 opinion piece, Vice criticised Benjamin's "logic-before-all attitude", claiming that "when you're speaking on issues of a social nature that cannot be boiled down to textbook definitions of words, it's not really an approach that works particularly well".[1] Vice has also likened him to Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for the American far-right conspiracy site InfoWars.[30] The Spectator columnist James Delingpole describes him as a more "erudite and polite" version of Paul Joseph Watson who targets "identity politics, Social Justice Warriors, and third-wave feminism".[31]

In May 2018, Benjamin was a speaker at a free speech protest rally in support of Tommy Robinson after Robinson was banned from Twitter for hateful conduct.[32] In June 2018 Benjamin joined the United Kingdom Independence Party.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Benjamin said that in his late teens he held a janitorial job, and at the time he started posting to YouTube he was working in a corporate office.[33][third-party source needed]

Benjamin is married and is a father of two children. He and his family live in Swindon, England.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bish, Joe (20 November 2016). "Examining the Right Wing British Blowhards Using YouTube to 'Prove Everybody Wrong'". Vice. Retrieved 3 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Benjamin, Carl (25 April 2015). "100,000 Subscriber Vlog and Recommendations". YouTube. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Moore, James (2 June 2016). "Birmingham MP iHn Epicentre of Twitter Abuse Storm". Redbrick. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d Rozsa, Matthew (7 September 2016). "A Deep Dive into the Alt-right's Greatest YouTube Hits". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Straumstein, Carl (11 November 2014). "#Gamergate and Games Research". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d Healey, Jon (11 June 2015). "The Guardian uses copyright to shush a critic of its cultural criticism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 May 2016. Sargon used seemingly every frame from Anyangwe's 3-minute, 49-second video. He found fault with most of the points she made, as well as the way she made them. After watching his piece, it's clear that there's no point in going to the Guardian's site to see the original because he's just shown you the whole thing. 
  7. ^ a b Tamburro, Paul (14 March 2017). "The JonTron Controversy and Why Parents Should Be Wary of YouTube". CraveOnline. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d Daubney, Martin (5 June 2016). "I set out to troll her – why all this fuss about 600 rape tweets?". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Menegus, Bryan (27 February 2017). "Prominent YouTubers Find Great Anti-Semitic Hill to Die on". Gizmodo. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Rozsa, Matthew (15 February 2017). "How PewDiePie 'fudged the labels' to avoid anti-Semitism claims because of his YouTube videos". Salon. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c "Exclusive: Patreon investigated YouTuber "Sargon of Akkad" over VidCon harassment". Retrieved 2018-06-03. 
  12. ^ a b "VidCon apologizes for panelist clash involving activist Anita Sarkeesian". The Daily Dot. 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2018-06-03. 
  13. ^ Lockett, Dee. "The 10 Biggest YouTube Dramas of 2017". Vulture. Retrieved 2018-07-07. 
  14. ^ Marwick, Alice E.; Caplan, Robyn (26 March 2018). "Drinking male tears: language, the manosphere, and networked harassment". Feminist Media Studies. 18 (4): 543–559. doi:10.1080/14680777.2018.1450568. ISSN 1468-0777. 
  15. ^ Campbell, Colin (27 June 2017). "Anita Sarkeesian's astounding 'garbage human' moment". Polygon. Retrieved 24 August 2018. 
  16. ^ Walker, Peter (2018-06-29). "Ukip's new guard: web agitators threaten to swamp struggling party". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-28. 
  17. ^ Cheong, Ian Miles (May 29, 2017). "What is Kekistan? The Internet's Most Controversial Political Meme Explained". Heat Street. Archived from the original on July 4, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2018. 
  18. ^ Tamburro, Paul (13 March 2017). "JonTron: 'Wealthy Blacks Commit More Crime Than Poor Whites'". CraveOnline. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  19. ^ Sargon of Akkad Live (2015-08-14), A Conversation with Dave Rubin, retrieved 2018-06-19 
  20. ^ Tamburro, Paul (27 June 2017). "VidCon Controversy Continues YouTube's Descent into Drama". CraveOnline. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  21. ^ a b "Sargon of Akkad: Classical Liberal or Libertarian? (Part 2)". Youtube. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  22. ^ Cross, Beren (26 March 2014). "Zombie slayers call for start-up funders". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  23. ^ Mark (20 April 2014). "Necromancer– The RPG/Strategy Game That Makes You The Bad Guy". Siliconera. Curse, Inc. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  24. ^ Necromancer by Other Worlds Software Kickstarter. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  25. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel (3 March 2018). "YouTube Cracks Down on Far-Right Videos as Conspiracy Theories Spread". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2018. 
  26. ^ a b Romano, Aja (30 June 2017). "Gorilla memes, YouTube trolls, and McMansion copyright fights: this week in internet culture". Vox. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  27. ^ Ryan, Padraic (22 May 2017). ""Who's your 4chan correspondent?" (and other questions Storyful thinks newsrooms should be asking after the French election)". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  28. ^ Smith IV, Jack (20 March 2017). "YouTube's LGBTQ restriction isn't censorship. It's laziness". Mic. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  29. ^ "Top 10 Controversial YouTube Channels – TopX". WatchMojo.com. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2017. 
  30. ^ "Examining the Right Wing British Blowhards Using YouTube to 'Prove Everybody Wrong'". Vice. 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2018-02-26. 
  31. ^ a b Delingpole, James (14 July 2018). "Ukip's on the verge of a spectacular comeback – and it's all thanks to Theresa May". The Spectator. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  32. ^ Gayle, Damien (2018-05-06). "Thousands march in 'free speech' protest led by rightwing figures". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-18. 
  33. ^ Robinson, Tommy (15 March 2018). "Tommy Meets: Sargon of Akkad". Tommy Robinson. Retrieved 23 August 2018 – via Youtube. 

External links[edit]