PayPal Suspends Account Utilized By The Ku Klux Klan

PayPal has suspended an account that was used by the Ku Klux Klan almost a week after activists flagged it for violating PayPal policy.

The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization associated with America's oldest hate group, linked on its website to a donation page that doesn’t specifically reference the group but asks for a “donation blessing for the cause,” BBC News reported. The page now reportedly reads, "currently unable to receive money.”

The page was first discovered by Nandini Jammi, an organizer for the internet-based group Sleeping Giants, a social media activist organization. Jammi told BBC News that she discovered the page on August 24 while preparing a presentation for the Turing Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She tweeted her findings directly to PayPal.

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

The activist’s discovery was retweeted by the Candian anti-hate-crime group NoPlace2Hate, who called out PayPal by saying accepting funds from the KKK is a violation of their own policy. Jammi told BBC News that she has been following white supremacists groups on PayPal and said it is “alarmingly common” for such groups to use mainstream payment and advertising platforms to raise money.

"I've been tracking hate groups on PayPal for several months now," she told the news station. "I was just Googling for a new example and I kind of knew all I had to do was type in KKK."

In a statement, PayPal said it could not comment on individual accounts but said they “carefully review accounts to ensure our 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 statement read.

In 2017, the company previously stated it would “evaluate all sites” brought to its attention that use the company to fundraise for causes promoting hate or violence. The statement came shortly after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

“Regardless of the individual or organization in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance. This includes organizations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups, or Nazi groups,” the statement read.

“If we become aware of a website or organization using our services that may violate our policies, our highly trained team of experts addresses each case individually and carefully evaluates the website itself, any associated organizations, and their adherence to our policy.”

In April, the popular vacation rental company Airbnb banned customers who were planning to use the app to attend a white nationalist conference in May called the American Renaissance Conference in Burns, Tennessee, The Tennessean previously reported. The American Renaissance is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), who calls it “a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of Blacks to whites.” The group holds conferences “every other year where racist ‘intellectuals’ rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.”

In a previous statement to The North Star, Airbnb cited its “Community Commitment” policy, which states that the company will “treat everyone in the Airbnb community — regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias.”

“Actions based in racism and hatred associated with neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and white supremacists have no place in the Airbnb community. When we see people on the platform pursuing behavior that would be antithetical to our Community Commitment, we take appropriate action,” the company said.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.