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Patreon accused of banning Japanese-style art, faces creator backlash

Patreon's implementation of their rules is facing scrutiny.

Patreon, a company that dominates the crowdfunding space for creators, is reportedly trying to clean up its platform further, and its bans are having some (un?)itended consequences.

Patreon is said to be doing this by banning or suspending accounts.

Next up on the purge list are Japanese-style anime characters that are said to look like minors.

Nothing wrong with that in and of itself – on the contrary – as long, that is, as these characters actually are supposed to represent minors. That’s something creators whose accounts are in jeopardy on Patreon are trying to argue against.

But information provided by user Bob BQ, who cited creator Waero’s announcement. The perception is that Patreon has basically moved to outlaw as underage “all anime” (more precisely “all Japanese-style” animation). The charge, meanwhile, seems to be that anime art sexualizes minors and therefore has no place on Patreon.

In a message to their supporters, Waero said work was now underway to remove links that Patreon”s Trust & Safety department found offending and thus “adjust” the account’s content.

“Japanese-style,” Waero spelled it out, means that signaling adulthood by depicting “big breasts” no longer works for Patreon – and so 90 percent of the account’s content on the platform had to go.

Patreon communicated with the creator to go into some detail regarding what it considers unacceptable styles.

“Big head, big eyes, and short height can make the characters look younger,” they said. And “big breasts” are not helpful, either – because Patreon’s team has concluded that “a lot” of girls under the age of 18 have those.

Doesn’t sound scientific at all, but it is what it is, and the creator is advised to trust Patreon’s judgment on this, and adjust content appropriately.

All that being said, there aren’t many hills more important to die on for a platform than working to eradicate sexualization of minors, as Patreon seems to be doing.

But many affected creators who are also Patreon’s customers are simply not convinced that’s the case, based on their art and activity – and it appears this is another one of Patreon’s unclear and wide-reaching rules that give them the ability to call the shots subjectively with little care for creators.

Then, there’s the noteworthy topic of Patreon’s long-standing and intrusive practice of monitoring users’ off-site content to judge how suitable they are for the platform.

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