Benjamin in 2018
|Born||c. 1979|
|Also known as||Sargon of Akkad|
|Updated March 10, 2019|
Carl Benjamin (born c. 1979), better known by his online alias Sargon of Akkad, is a British YouTuber, political commentator, anti-feminist, polemicist and UKIP candidate for the European Parliament. Benjamin grew to prominence through the Gamergate controversy. Since Gamergate, he has covered topics such as identity politics, the alt-right, Brexit and political correctness.
Benjamin's YouTube channel first drew attention during the Gamergate controversy in 2014. According to Inside Higher Ed, his videos on the topic advanced a conspiracy theory in which he argued that members of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) were actively plotting to influence video game development, saying that DiGRA "became co-opted by feminists to become a think tank by which gender ideologues can disseminate their ideology to the gaming press and ultimately to gamers".
In June 2015, YouTube took down one of Benjamin's videos when it received a copyright claim from The Guardian. 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. One Los Angeles Times columnist wrote of the incident calling it "alarming to see copyright law used to stifle debate in the public square".
In response to Labour Party politician Jess Phillips' statement that rape threats are commonplace for her, Benjamin said in May 2016 that "I wouldn't even rape you" in a YouTube video and repeated this on Twitter. Benjamin declined to apologise for the comment. At a UKIP press conference announcing his candidacy for the 2019 European Parliament elections, Benjamin once again refused to retract his comments about Philips, and said that she is a "giant bitch" and that she had been "laughing about male suicide". It was unclear what Benjamin's comments referred to; Phillips had not mocked male suicide and believes it to be a serious issue. The Chairman of the Swindon branch of the UKIP called for Benjamin to be deselected, which was rejected by Batten.
At VidCon 2017, Anita Sarkeesian appeared on a panel discussing online harassment directed towards women. A group of YouTubers who had frequently criticised Sarkeesian in the past, including Benjamin, filled one-half of the first three rows of the audience and filmed Sarkeesian as part of a targeted harassment campaign against her. Sarkeesian singled out Benjamin as a serial harasser of hers, calling him a "garbage human". VidCon founder Hank Green issued a statement that the group's 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". 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". Patreon also investigated the claims of harassment, but determined that although they considered his actions "distasteful", Benjamin had not violated their code of conduct.
In March 2018, North London Antifa protesters broke into a scheduled discussion between Benjamin and Yaron Brook by King's College's Libertarian Society at the school. Masked protestors attacked security guards, set off smoke bombs, broke windows and allegedly attacked other attendees. The event organisers called the police, cancelled the event and evacuated the building. The organiser reported that two security guards were hospitalised.
Patreon banned Benjamin in December 2018, when he was earning over US$12,000 a month. According to Patreon, Benjamin violated the site's rules on hate speech by using "racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual". A number of users, including Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin and Sam Harris, left the platform following the ban of Benjamin. Harris stated that he did not "share the politics of the banned members", but objected to what he described as "political bias" on Patreon. As part of their explanation for why they dropped Benjamin, Patreon published a transcript of a YouTube video in which Benjamin stated that members of the alt-right were "acting like white niggers" because "[e]xactly how you describe black people acting is the impression I get dealing with the Alt Right" and "White people are meant to be polite and respectful to one another". In response, Benjamin has said that his targets were not black or homosexual and claimed that the word nigger is not offensive in Britain like it is in the United States. In the 2019 European Parliament elections, Benjamin was second on UKIP's list for the South West England constituency.
Benjamin is a prominent anti-feminist. He identifies as a centrist, and a classical liberal. Vox has described him as anti-progressive and Nieman Journalism Lab, Vice and Mic have described him as "right-wing". He is a critic of identity politics. Benjamin has opposed online feminist movements such as the British group Reclaim the Internet which he called "social communism". The Daily Dot described the targets of Benjamin's criticism such as feminism, Islam, Black Lives Matter and the overall notion of straight, white male privilege as the same as those of the alt-right and stated of a video by Benjamin titled "An Honest Look at the Alt Right" that "[a]lthough [Benjamin] criticizes the alt-right for collectivist and authoritarian thinking, he argues that they’re reacting to a comparable amount of racism from the left." Newsweek has reported that he has "links" to the alt-right and Salon has described him as an "alt-right sympathiser" whereas Business Insider has said that he "opposes" the alt-right. Benjamin has denied ties to the alt-right.
In May 2018, Benjamin was a speaker at a right-wing "Day of Freedom" rally in support of Tommy Robinson after Robinson was banned from Twitter for hate speech. Benjamin is a vocal advocate of Brexit. In June 2018, Benjamin joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) along with other social media activists Mark Meechan and Paul Joseph Watson. The trio's membership has been described by political analysts as part of a shift to the far-right in the UKIP under Gerard Batten's leadership.
In a November 2016 opinion piece, Vice criticized Benjamin for what they characterized as a "sense of purist thinking and a logic-before-all attitude" that ignores the complexity of topics related to race and gender, likening him to Paul Joseph Watson, a writer for InfoWars. Both Vice and PC Magazine have described him as a conspiracy theorist. Breitbart London editor James Delingpole has described him is a "leftist libertarian" and a more "erudite and polite" version of Watson, saying Benjamin targets "identity politics, Social Justice Warriors, and third-wave feminism".
- "How a right-wing troll and a Russian Twitter account created 2016's biggest voter fraud story". NBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- Benjamin, Carl (25 April 2015). "100,000 Subscriber Vlog and Recommendations". YouTube. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Bowles, Nellie (24 December 2018). "Patreon Bars Anti-Feminist for Racist Speech, Inciting Revolt". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
- Rozsa, Matthew (7 September 2016). "A Deep Dive into the Alt-right's Greatest YouTube Hits". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- Straumstein, Carl (11 November 2014). "#Gamergate and Games Research". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- 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.
- "Fights break out at King's College London as masked anti-fascist protesters storm talk". The Independent. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- 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.
- Macwhirter, Jamie (23 September 2018). "'Racist' troll who sent rape tweet addresses Ukip members". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 8 March 2019 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- Hossein-Pour, Anahita (18 April 2019). "Ukip candidate brands Labour MP Jess Phillips a 'b*tch' and doubles down on rape comments at chaotic campaign launch". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
- Syal, Rajeev (18 April 2019). "Ukip leader attacks Farage party at EU elections launch". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 April 2019 – via www.theguardian.com.
- "UKIP candidate not sorry for rape comments". BBC News. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
- Mulkerin, Tim (28 June 2017). "Exclusive: Patreon investigated YouTuber "Sargon of Akkad" over VidCon harassment". mic.com. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- "VidCon apologizes for panelist clash involving activist Anita Sarkeesian". The Daily Dot. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
- Lockett, Dee. "The 10 Biggest YouTube Dramas of 2017". Vulture. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
- 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.
- Aghazadeh, Sarah A.; Burns, Alison; Chu, Jun; Feigenblatt, Hazel; Laribee, Elizabeth; Maynard, Lucy; Meyers, Amy L. M.; O’Brien, Jessica L.; Rufus, Leah (21 July 2018). GamerGate: A Case Study in Online Harassment. Cham: Springer International Publishing. pp. 179–207. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-78583-7_8. ISBN 9783319785820.
- Campbell, Colin (27 June 2017). "Anita Sarkeesian's astounding 'garbage human' moment". Polygon. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Violence breaks out as protesters storm King's College London event featuring controversial YouTuber". The Telegraph. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
- "PayPal shuts Russian crowdfunder's account after alt-right influx". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- Goggin, Benjamin. "Top Patreon creators, of the 'Intellectual Dark Web,' say they're launching an alternate crowdfunding platform not 'susceptible to arbitrary censorship'". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- Goggin, Benjamin (18 December 2018). "Crowdfunding platform Patreon defends itself from protests by 'intellectual dark web,' publishes slur-filled posts from banned YouTuber". Business Insider. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- Feder, J. Lester. "Steve Bannon Met A White Nationalist Facebook Personality During London Trip". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
- Bloom, Dan; Milne, Oliver (12 April 2019). "Everything you need to know about European Parliament elections". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Barnes, Tom (12 April 2019). "Anti-feminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad selected as Ukip election candidate". The Independent. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Mills, Jen. "UKIP leader dismisses candidate's 'I wouldn't even rape you' tweet as 'satire'". Metro. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- "My Campaign to become an MEP for South West England". Youtube. 12 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
- O'Mahoney, Eleanor (3 October 2018). "Pushing Free Speech, New Student Group Seeks Society Status". The University Times. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
- "Sargon of Akkad: Classical Liberal or Libertarian? (Part 2)". Youtube. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- Romano, Aja (30 June 2017). "Gorilla memes, YouTube trolls, and McMansion copyright fights: this week in internet culture". Vox. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
- 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.
- Bish, Joe (20 November 2016). "Examining the Right Wing British Blowhards Using YouTube to 'Prove Everybody Wrong'". Vice. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
- Smith IV, Jack (20 March 2017). "YouTube's LGBTQ restriction isn't censorship. It's laziness". Mic. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
- 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.
- Lemon, Jason (25 June 2018). "Controversial alt-right linked social media activists welcomed as members of Britain's UKIP". Newsweek. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- 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.
- Menegus, Bryan (27 February 2017). "Prominent YouTubers Find Great Anti-Semitic Hill to Die on". Gizmodo. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Gayle, Damien (6 May 2018). "Thousands march in 'free speech' protest led by rightwing figures". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Coulter, Martin (6 May 2018). "Milo Yiannopoulos expected to speak at controversial far-right rally in central London". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- Halliday, Josh (12 July 2018). "Anti-Islam activists get key roles in 'family-friendly' Brexit march". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
- Walker, Peter (25 June 2018). "Ukip welcomes social media activists linked to 'alt-right' into party". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Sommer, Will (26 June 2018). "Far-Right YouTube Stars Plan Takeover of UKIP". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- McTague, Tom (19 December 2018). "The rise of UKIP's YouTubers". Politico. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Gilbert, David (7 December 2018). "Crowdfunding site Patreon is purging far-right figures". Vice News. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- Jan 2019, Adam Smith 17; P.m, 1:32 (17 January 2019). "YouTube Bans Tommy Robinson From Making Money Off His Videos". PCMag UK. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- Delingpole, James (8 January 2019). "Patreon, Carl Benjamin and the New Puritanism". The Spectator. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
- 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.