SAN JOSE, Calif. – To start with, let me just say this post is not about the legal merits of Alex Jones’ lawsuit against PayPal. I don’t know enough about legal issues to even tell you what the phrase “legal merits” means, much less whether Jones’ complaint has any to offer.
This post is all about me still being butthurt about a PayPal rep lying to me, many years ago, when he looked me in the face and said: “I’ll call you Friday.”
No wait – that’s not what he said. That’s the lie he told the chick with whom he’d just hooked up. My bad! What the PayPal rep in question said to me was: “PayPal is here for the long haul.”
In context, “here” was billing transactions for merchants in the adult entertainment industry. Clearly, what he said was either a lie, or an indication that in his mind, six weeks is “the long haul,” because that’s about how long it was before I heard from that same rep that PayPal was dumping the adult entertainment business, pretty much all the way across the board.
It’s been so long since that sequence of events took place, you’d think I’d be over it now. All this proves is that you don’t know me very well, though. Hell, I’m still mad at the kid who made fun of my Pink Floyd concert t-shirt my sophomore year in high school. (I’m also still trying to come up with the right comeback for his insult, but that’s another story.)
At any rate, somewhere in that lawsuit Alex Jones filed, it says: “PayPal engaged in this viewpoint-based censorship despite stating that, in determining whether a user violated its acceptable use policy, it would only consider conduct actually involving the use of PayPal.”
Whatever the PayPal AUP may have said, in justifying the ban of Jones/FSS, PayPal apparently told Jones that after “extensively” looking at PrisonPlanet.com and InfoWars.com, it had “determined instances that ‘promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religion.’”
As Jones sees it, because he was only using PayPal to charge people for “dietary and nutritional supplements, and literature written by and for a politically conservative audience,” and not selling them the allegedly hateful and discriminatory contents of his ‘news’ sites, PayPal shouldn’t be able to punish his online store’s account for the words published on and by InfoWars and PrisonPlanet.
OK, so that’s clearly different from PayPal banning the practice of billing people for access to videos of pirates buttfucking cheerleaders, or whatever kind of porn it was I was selling back when I had a PayPal account.
Still, I think as a matter of basic fairness, if this lawsuit works for Jones, PayPal should be required to give back PayPal accounts (and, more importantly, the ability to use those accounts) to internet pornographers.
True, I have no sound legal argument for why this is the case – but when has that ever stopped me before? I don’t have a sound legal argument for why I should be allowed to swim naked in the local drinking water reservoir either, and I do that every Thursday night!
On the other hand, and while I’ve already said I’m not going to get into the merits of the complaint, there are some things in this complaint which make me wonder about its factual foundation. For instance, one paragraph asserts not only that the loss of the account “will significantly reduce Plaintiff’s income” but “more importantly PayPal deciding to kick Plaintiff off its platform has harmed the legitimacy of Plaintiff as a news organization in the eyes of the general public and has already led to a loss of good will.”
Here’s the thing, Alex: PayPal can only harm your legitimacy as a “news organization” if you have any legitimacy as a news organization in the first place.
That said, I hope Jones wins this case – not because I want him to have every means available to bill for his various nutritional supplements and tactical underwear, but just on the off chance such a loss would lead PayPal to letting internet pornographers use the service again, too.
It’s not a likely scenario, I’ll admit… But a man can dream, dammit. Yes, even a man who spends his Thursday evenings floating naked in a water reservoir, holding a can of Keystone Light.