By CCN Markets: One of Australia's biggest banks this week announced they will be closing down the account of far-right activist Blair Cottrell on the 25th of July.
Described by several media groups as a 'neo-Nazi', Cottrell posted proof of the closure via his Gab account. Westpac has given Cottrell a few weeks notice to file for an extension.
Australian Bank Bans Far-Right Activist
Westpac dodged the issue by not giving Cottrell any reason for the shutdown, presumably on the basis of keeping its own political nose clean. The decision has not skirted the Twitterati, however, as the debate over corporate censorship continues.
One tweet proclaimed:
Meanwhile Cottrell himself expressed a similar view in the Gab post:
Lol world-communism in effect. They’re closing my bank accounts now too and won’t even tell me why.
That didn't stop him from speculating though:
But we already know why, don’t we. It’s because I know the truth about the international ethnic-genocide of white people... I know why they’re pushing your kids to be gay and transgender, I know the real purpose of feminism. I just know too much.
Social Media Bans
Blair Cottrell is a founding member of Australia's United Patriots Front and the Lads Society, two right-wing parties that reporters love to bash on a regular basis. His extremist views have all but banished his digital identity thanks to social media deplatforming by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
PayPal followed suit causing some groups to celebrate the fact he could no longer bankroll his so-called 'hateful agenda'. Despite the widespread corporate blackout, mainstream media has ironically backed Cottrell into a corner of the internet where more of his kind can be found.
Gab is an alternative social media platform that champions itself for free speech. Its user-base is largely far-right and now plays home to other high-profile bannings like Alex Jones who was given the boot by Facebook earlier this year.
Both Sides of the Divide
While Gab does indeed provide a platform for anybody to say anything, it's not infallible. Just exactly where do you draw the line on free speech? Despite its claims, poking through several of Gab's feed comments reveals a heavy amount of hate speech.
The closure of Cottrell's bank account is a worrying sign of the times. Banks are an essential part of modern-day living. You may not agree with someone else's views but do you have the right to take away their ability to pay the bills? Surely even extremists have a right to feed their families.
The current trend of political-based financial censorship sets a dangerous precedent for who should or shouldn't be included in the global financial system. Who, after all, gets to police that kind of power? Thankfully, Bitcoin doesn't care.