The U.S-based crowd funding website Patreon has removed Defend Europe, a far-right anti-immigrant group's page, citing the group is “likely to cause loss of life."
A statement by Patreon to Lauren Southern, who set up Defend Europe's profile page, read: “It appears that you are currently raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life. We have therefore decided to remove your page from Patreon, and paid out your final balance of US$95.00 to you."
Adding, “We understand that this will come as a disappointment. Please know that we have come to this decision after a long review process and will not consider an appeal.”
The tech firm's decision comes after the white supremacist-led Charlottesville rally in U.S. that made international headlines Saturday and days after the far-right group's C-star ship went adrift in the Mediterranean after the ship's engine shut down.
The far-right group members who claim to be “identitarians," raised over US$100,000 on Patreon under the banner "European Identity” before the group was cut loose.
According to the group's mission statement, Defend Europe aims “to save Europe, to stop illegal immigration, and end the dying on the sea.” The right-wing group has been raising money since May on the U.S. website to stop the NGO vessels carrying Libyan refugees en route to Europe from entering the continent.
However, another crowdfunding web page on WeSearchr continues to raise funds for the far-right group. So far, it has raised US$200,000 through donations from some 3,000 contributors.
Nearly 2,300 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean in 2016 attempting to make it to Italy and other European countries.
In May, Defend Europe reportedly rented a boat to disrupt a search-and-rescue vessel that was leaving the Sicilian port of Catania, The Guardian reported. The group claimed that they were successful in slowing down the rescue mission until the Italian Coast Guard intervened.
The California-based website that is hosting the Defend Europe page said it will not remove the group. Charles Johnson, the founder of the host website, told The Independent: "No, we will not. What Patreon did is illegal under California law. You can't discriminate politically against your customers."