PayPal Suspends KKK Account Amid Criticism for Not Doing It Sooner


A group raising “a donation blessing” for the Klux Klan was operating a PayPal account
Photo: William Thomas Cain / Stringer (Getty Images)

Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records once had a female rapper who released an album titled A.M.I.L. — an acronym for All Money Is Legal.

That’s the code of the streets. And apparently the code of the sheets—and perhaps PayPal.

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If it wasn’t for pesky protestors, it would’ve been business as usual for the cash app giant.

The Ku Klux Klan was operating an account with the digital banking company for six days before it was suspended.

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And if it wasn’t for anti-bigotry activists flagging the offense, who knows how long it would’ve operated.

The BBC reports that the Loyal White Knights of AmeriKKKa’s most prominent white supremacy group promoted the account via a donation page on its website.

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PayPal took action on Friday after others picked up on the issue and urged it to block the recipient.

Nandini Jammi, of the internet-based group Sleeping Giants, said she’s been tracking hate groups on the popular cash app for months now.

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She said a cursory search for KKK on Google turned up results that led her to the website.

“I have [tons] of concerns that PayPal is not able to act quickly and decisively on hate groups,” Jammi told the BBC.

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“There are some examples of them acting in a fairly timely manner…But they’re not applying [their anti-hate policy] in a consistent enough manner.”

According to its own Security & Protections policy, the worldwide company “carefully considers” factors such as “the promotion or glorification of hate, violence, or intolerance because of a person’s race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation” to determine what goods and services should be prohibited.

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On its website, PayPal clearly states that items containing “Ku Klux Klan symbols” are generally prohibited.

The Loyal White Knights’ website was seeking funds to help pay for the postage of newsletters and other materials to its supporters and to organize public rallies.

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A screenshot of the page—which did not specifically reference the KKK but said its mission was to provide a “donation blessing for the cause”—has circulated on Twitter.

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“Due to our legal and data protection obligations, we cannot comment on any specific PayPal customer’s account,” a PayPal spokesperson told the BBC, adding that the company carefully reviews accounts to ensure its services are used in line with our acceptable use policy and take action as appropriate.

“We do not allow PayPal services to be used to promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that are discriminatory,” the rep said.

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Jammi has a watchful eye on other digital properties that could be breeding ground for bigotry; praising some—such as Pinterest, Bumble and Patreon—who were quick on the draw to halt the hatred.

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About the author

Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!