A former Republican-appointed judge in California protected Patreon, known for financially blacklisting its customers, from a lawsuit brought by one of the first prominent users banned from the platform, Lauren Southern, falsely branding the documentary filmmaker “alt right” in the process.
According to Patreon’s own legal agreement with its users, any arbitration brought against the company by its users will be considered consumer arbitration. Consumer arbitration allows consumers to bring lawsuits against corporations without facing the kind of crippling legal fees of corporate arbitration cases.
However, the arbitrator in this case, former Republican-appointed judge for the Superior Court of Alameda County, California, Robert Freedman, overrode Patreon’s own terms of service and recommended that Southern be considered a non-consumer. Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services went ahead with this recommendation, effectively ending the case.
In a video posted to her YouTube channel on Wednesday, Southern said that the arbitrator also branded her “alt-right.”
“Totally counter to the expected conduct within the legal profession, the arbitrator felt the need to refer to me as ‘alt-right’ in his judgment, a completely inaccurate title which had no relevance whatsoever to a contractual dispute between two parties,” said Southern.
The case was fought by lawyers Marie Fiala and Andrei Popovici. In a comment to Breitbart News, Fiala said that the decision by the arbitrator denied their client due process.
“We believe Lauren has a strong legal argument that Patreon failed to exercise reasonable care when it deplatformed her,” said Fiala. “They did so without notice, basing their decision on demonstrably false information and giving her no opportunity to defend herself.”
“In Lauren’s case however, at Patreon’s urging, the arbitration firm refused to treat her as a consumer. That meant that, if Lauren wanted to pursue her claim, she would have to pay half the arbitration fees. Like most other Patreon users, that was financially impossible for Lauren. In effect, Patreon and the arbitrator denied Lauren any opportunity to have her claims heard, violating her contractual and basic due process rights.”