Sargon of Akkad: Actual Fraudster?

Hypocrisy, thy name is Carl.

In addition to stealing intellectual property to make hate porn, there’s evidence Sargon of Akkad actually defrauded his backers in 2014, raising funds for a video game which has yet to be made.

Way back in March 2014, when Sargon was still ranting on the Internet for free, he decided to make a video game called “Necromancer.” It’s a zombie apocalypse survival game coded in Unity with like, some necromancy elements straight outta Blizzard. Under his company name, Other Worlds Software, Sargon pitched a Kickstarter to raise funds. The fund drive was a success: 77 people donated £8,016 to make the game.

18 months later, Necromancer hasn’t yet been released. The steam page for it seems to be languishing away In Greenlight Hell. Last week Sargon released two long-ass “development streams”, which are basically radio shows of him pretending to be Brianna Wu.

But excuse making on YouTube isn’t the product Sargon said he would make. Older posts show what appears to be screengrabs of the levels, which may or may not be anything close to ready for play-testing.

What’s also strange is how Sargon routinely criticises Anita Sarkeesian for not releasing her videos on schedule, when Sargon himself is months behind on his own little Unity game. I thought this stuff was supposed to be easy, man. Is the podcast/radio show just too lucrative?

Sargon’s backers probably don’t want to hear it, but I’m not afraid of him sending haters on brigade. He’s a thief, stealing copyrighted videos and his backers money, just to personally enrich himself.

Sargon of Akkad: A Thief, a Liar, and a Bully

Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. (Source: YouTube/David Pakman Show)

Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. (Source: YouTube/David Pakman Show)

There’s no argument that Sargon of Akkad’s (real name: Carl Benjamin) antifeminist videos are in bad taste. Offending people’s sensibilities is part of the product, part of why the videos appeal to neoreactionary dillweeds. Sargon’s job is to be a bombastic asshole who “debates” recordings of people his fans hate, delivering the grade-school put-downs his witless viewers simply don’t have the mental capacity to compose. His job, essentially, is to spin the news into something his viewers will find palatable and entertaining, for which he gets paid around $870 per video.

Sadly, Sargon violates the rules of the platforms he uses to raise his money and to distribute his videos – and quite possibly the laws of his country as well. Specifically, Sargon’s unlicensed theft of other people’s videos as fodder for him to mock is a violation of the copyright holder, and what he says violates several UK civil statues – namely, harassment and defamation. And given that Sargon’s job is basically to pour gasoline on a raging trash fire, it would seem he is morally (if not legally) responsible for the additional harassment his videos generate.

It isn’t “fair use”, it’s theft

Stealing a video from YouTube so that you can record yourself abusing its maker for profit is not “fair use” by any rational definition of the word. Fair use generally requires a work to be transformative, i.e. not a reproduction of the original work. It doesn’t help that Sargon tends to sample videos in their entirety, and that he does so as a commercial enterprise.

Some might defend what Sargon does as “parody”, which is protected by fair use. But for Sargon’s work to qualify as a parody, it would have to provide a social benefit, and it would have to change the source work in a substantial way to create an entirely new and original work. (For reference, this is an actual parody of Anita Sarkeesian.) Simply insulting the person or thing you’re trying to parody doesn’t cut it – that’s just being a dick. Since Sargon’s “commentary” would be meaningless without the videos he steals, his work is not transformative or original in any substantial way.

Just because Sargon’s videos get past YouTube’s bootleg filter does not mean they’re not copyright infringement. The fact that Sargon would probably never get permission from creators to sample their videos isn’t a suitable justification for stealing them, either. In fact, some of Sargon’s videos have been taken down for copyright infringement, like his hot take on the first Republican primary debate. Let’s be honest – YouTube and Patreon have a greater incentive to heed copyright infringement claims made by Fox News than they do from private individuals, and that’s why Sargon’s videos stay online.

It isn’t “free speech”, it’s harassment and defamation

It always tickles me how Sargon and his followers pivot to a 1st Amendment defense of his work, given that UK citizens aren’t entitled to rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. The laws that govern Sargon and right to his free expression are actually much more restrictive than the ones that govern me & mine, as I write this in New York. Specifically, the UK has very stringent, and very plantiff-friendly laws against harassment and defamation.

In the Nanny State, harassment is defined as any action which amounts to harassment of another person, which the harasser knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of that person. Most notably, the person doing the harassing does not even have to have a motive or intention to harass, so long as the contact is unwanted by the recipient. So, for example, if Sargon made a video examining Ellen Pao’s sexual discrimination lawsuit, he wouldn’t need to mean for it to be harassing for it to potentially qualify as harassment.

UK defamation law is unkind to Sargon as well. In that case, Sargon is liable for anything he says about the people he targets which would be apt to make the average citizen to think worse of them.

Now, the truth is an absolute defense against defamation. But in the UK, the burden of proof rests on the defendant. For example, if Sargon repeatedly accused Matt Binder of being a “liar”, and Binder sued him for it, it would be up to Sargon to prove that Binder did, in fact, lie during his radio broadcasts. As far as I can tell, the only reason Sargon hasn’t already been sued because the people he pillories haven’t initiated litigation against him. But that doesn’t mean what he says is actually legal.

It isn’t “satire”, it’s incitement

It’s important to consider that Sargon’s fans are already pig-biting mad at the people he attacks online. In fact, being widely hated already is an important selection criterion when Sargon makes his videos, because his fans want him to roast someone they already know & love to hate.

To Sargon, the people whose hurt he profits from are an abstraction. To him, these videos are a business, and one his own family depends on. But actually being a subject on Sargon’s show is a positive feedback loop for harassment: people who already receive a lot of internet death threats are more likely to be featured, and if they are featured, the amount of harassment they receive is likely to increase. If Sargon’s video creates a lot of harassment for a person, he’s more likely to feature them in subsequent videos.

To keep his channel online, Sargon goes out of his way to label his work as “satire” or “commentary”, but really he’s just pushing the envelope; harassing his targets enough to get the viewers he needs without getting himself canned from Patreon and YouTube.

There’s nothing “satirical” about Sargon’s videos, because he honestly believes what he says. He honestly believes that feminists and feminism are a mental illness needing to be destroyed. Anita delenda est. 

Sargon may even be legally culpable of incitement, by encouraging others to commit acts of harassment. In the UK, you can be liable for incitement even if your remarks were addressed to the world at large, and one’s encouragement need not have any actual effect on the crime committed. By this rubric, Sargon’s videos would seem like a particularly reckless form of incitement: he broadcasts hate speech to a dedicated fandom of angry sexists.

I have always been a little surprised by the huge viewership Sargon commands, given that you could go to any pub in the Midlands and find blokes like him yelling at the lady on the local TV news for free. But unlike some chap running his mouth, Sargon has a fandom that takes his words to heart, and who have a proven history of harassment.

Sargon of Akkad is pouring gasoline on a fire. So far, the spectacle has made Patreon, YouTube, and Sargon himself a good bit of money. But if someone gets burned, it’ll be Sargon- and the platforms who hosted him- that will be to blame.

Edit: added a paragraph about UK incitement law.

Roosh V. Driven from Montreal Bar by Angry Patrons

Roosh V: Not fooling anybody

Roosh V: Not fooling anybody

As of Saturday, Roosh Valizadeh’s 4-country tour has been ridden out of Montreal on a rail. First, there was the change.org petition to deny him entry into Canada, which has nearly 40,000 signatures. Then, his hotel cancelled on him, and Roosh scrambled to find a new venue. Even the Mayor of Montreal tweeted that he wanted Roosh V out of Canada. Talk about a tough crowd: for Roosh, this amount of resistance was unprecedented.

Although Roosh successfully hosted his 1-hour speech about the state of man, twice as many people gathered to protest against Roosh at a second location in Montreal. Only about 40 guys attended the talk. Later that day, Roosh saw local Canadian television reporting about the protests. But the talk behind him, Roosh decided he could “enjoy our victory lap”, and do what he does best: the Canadian pick-up scene.

So Roosh V. posted a victory video, where he can be seen drinking alcohol. He “enjoyed [his] victory lap.” Then he put on a wig and hit the bars of Montreal.

Roosh worked his game, the pick-up game which (he claims) has gotten him hundreds of bangs in his lifetime. Roosh V worked the game which is really a philosophy of rape, a brand of rape tourism guides. Roosh V was working the game that he made his brand. This game was not for beginners, like Roosh had done in New York: he had just one other guy to serve as his wingman. But it didn’t work. Late Saturday night, some bitch in Montreal fucking recognized him.

And she threw her beer on him, and so did another woman. Roosh V took off his wig as one woman yelled at him:

“You piece of shit! You piece of shit! How dare you fucking come to Canada? How dare you fucking come to my show?”

“Fuck you!” Another woman shrilled.

“Get the fuck out!” A man said to Roosh, brandishing towards the door. “Get the fuck out of here!”

The women in the bar continued: “This is the guy who says rape should be legal!” “This is the guy who wants to rape your sister! This is fuckin’ Roosh V., he thinks rape should be legal.” Within 48 seconds, Roosh had been bounced from the bar, his turf, his watering hole, his hunting ground. The self described “innovative Casanova” was denied access to the social scene he must capitalize on. At least two dozen people followed Roosh out the door, heckled him down the street and to the entrance of his hotel.

Roosh and his wingman retreated to the hotel, located only a few blocks from the bar they’d staked out that night. Behind the security of the glass door, Roosh gave the jeering crowd which, moments before, had been his game, the middle finger. The crowd fingered Roosh back, and one of the women said “Eat my cunt!”

It had taken just two minutes and thirty-three seconds to shut down Roosh’s game in Montreal for good.