Far-right talk show host Josh Bernstein depends on major tech companies to support his broadcasts, which frequently contain violent rhetoric and conspiracy theories that may violate some of those tech platforms’ own stated policies.
“The Josh Bernstein Show” is currently supported financially by a handful of business advertisers and paying fans on Patreon, a membership platform for online content creators, and reaches viewers via YouTube and the streaming platform Roku.
At the end of a video uploaded to YouTube on Aug. 2, Bernstein made clear his reliance on Patreon. He told viewers that YouTube had at some point in time demonetized his channel, which if true, means that Bernstein’s content has been determined to be inappropriate for advertising on the platform and that Bernstein is unable to generate revenue from the number of views on his videos. Bernstein has 130,000 YouTube subscribers at the time of publication.
“Put $5, $10 a month on my Patreon. It’s not an expenditure, it’s an investment,” Bernstein said. “It’s an investment in future freedoms. It’s an investment in prosperity. Because I eat, sleep, and breathe protecting this nation.”
Bernstein also explained his intention to expand his efforts with Roku to get around the supposed “constant censorship” he faces on YouTube.
“Due to YouTube’s constant censorship of ’The Josh Bernstein Show,’ ‘The Josh Bernstein Show’ is expanding to Roku television where I will not be censored and you will be able to watch ’The Josh Bernstein Show’ for free,” Bernstein said. “I will also be continuing every single day to upload videos right here on YouTube on ’The Josh Bernstein Show’ channel that you are currently watching right now, and I will also be on [Patreon].”
Right Wing Watch has cataloged Bernstein’s violent rhetoric, hate speech, and conspiracy theories for years. On YouTube broadcasts and radio shows, Bernstein has argued or claimed that:
- Liberal Jews deserve to be called anti-Semitic slurs.
- He understands “why people are anti-Semitic, truly.”
- He hates anti-Semitism, but if it keeps Sen. Bernie Sanders out of the White House, he’ll “take some anti-Semitism.”
- Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros “should be taking a long dirt nap immediately” and is a “kike.”
- A man who committed a mass shooting in Texas in 2019 had “kind of a Jewish name,” which meant that “he’s likely a Democrat.”
- People should disobey stay-at-home orders meant to lessen the spread of the coronavirus and should “not be afraid to use our Second Amendment” to do so.
- Washington state gun owners should “defy” gun reform measures by shooting police officers if necessary.
- White people should “get armed immediately” because some Black Lives Matter activists “want to spill white blood.”
- He wants to see Joe Biden and “these bastards hang by the neck until it cracks” or else the American people will take matters into their own hands.
- Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib “have earned every single one” of the death threats they have received.
- Senior citizens should go to polling places to vote for President Donald Trump despite the health risks present during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if they catch the disease and die, “So be it.”
Some of these remarks appear to violate stated content guidelines for the platforms that Bernstein uses to reach viewers and to turn a profit.
YouTube, where Bernstein has built his largest social media reach, has stated policies against hate speech and harmful content. When reached by RWW, YouTube said that channels hosting Bernstein’s videos have had “multiple videos” removed for violating the site’s hate speech policy, but that the accounts had not acquired the three strikes in 90 days that would prompt a channel’s termination. YouTube also said that the platform moderates according to the content uploaded to a channel, not by speaker, and that the aforementioned remarks that were made on YouTube did not violate its guidelines.
Patreon, where Bernstein solicit funds for his program, has community guidelines that state that any creator engaging in “threatening behavior” or “inciting others to commit violent acts” is subject to removal from its platform. Additionally, Patreon’s stated policies forbid “hate speech, such as calling for violence, exclusion, or segregation. This includes serious attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical conditions.” Patreon did not respond to an emailed inquiry sent Monday.
Roku’s stated content and conduct guidelines asks users to agree not to “upload, post, email, transmit, or otherwise make available any User-Provided Content that is, or may reasonably be considered to be, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.” Roku did not respond to an emailed inquiry sent Monday.