14-year-old creator Soph, who is known for her satirical videos on culture, politics, and society, has been deplatformed once again. This time her merch store, which was hosted by the print-on-demand service Bonfire, has been shut down.
Soph says she was kicked off the service because “the site thought I was too edgy,” adding that people who recently bought merch from her should have been refunded and that she’s looking for alternative ways to sell her merch.
if you kindly purchased a shirt from me and mysteriously got refunded, it's cuz the site thought I was too edgy and kicked me off. gonna figger out another way to do this merch bidness, sorry to y'all who were looking forward to brandishing my beautiful face in public
— soph (@sewernugget) August 6, 2019
The news of Soph’s merch store being shut down comes after both YouTube and the fan-funding service Patreon have also closed Soph’s accounts over the last week.
Patreon hasn’t said why Soph had her account taken down while YouTube took her most recent video down for “hate speech” shortly before removing her channel entirely for “violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” Patreon has a controversial clause in its terms of service that says off-site behavior can lead to a ban so the takedown of the Patreon account may be in response to Soph’s YouTube channel being shut down.
Soph started her YouTube channel in 2015 and had been steadily growing her fan base over the years. However, in May 2019, BuzzFeed published a piece which attempted to characterize her satirical videos as “hateful” and “racist.” In the months after that hit piece was published, Soph was temporarily suspended by YouTube before being permanently banned by YouTube, Patreon, and now Bonfire.
Soph has responded to the recent deplatforming by embracing alt-tech solutions – a strategy that’s becoming increasingly necessary for independent creators as mainstream platforms roll out increasingly restrictive terms.
For content distribution, Soph is using the peer-to-peer video hosting platform BitChute, the free speech focused social network Gab, and the blockchain-based live streaming platform DLive. For monetization, Soph is accepting donations through her own website and via various cryptocurrency wallets.