|Born||1979 (age 39–40)|
|Also known as||Sargon of Akkad|
|Updated 10 March 2019|
Carl Benjamin (born 1979) is a polemic anti-feminist British YouTuber with the online pseudonym Sargon of Akkad. He is a member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Benjamin grew to prominence through the Gamergate controversy, during which he promoted a conspiracy theory that feminists were infiltrating video game research groups to influence game development according to a feminist agenda. Since Gamergate, his commentary has been largely devoted to promoting Brexit, and criticising political correctness, feminism, Islam, and identity politics.
Benjamin is also known for his 2016 remarks about rape and a female Member of Parliament, Jess Phillips. In response to her complaint that she frequently received rape threats from men online, Benjamin tweeted to her, “I wouldn’t even rape you.” Criticism of this comment and similar remarks by Benjamin dominated press coverage of his unsuccessful 2019 candidacy for the South West England constituency of the European Parliament.
Benjamin’s YouTube channel first drew attention during the Gamergate controversy in 2014. Inside Higher Ed said his videos on the topic advanced a conspiracy theory in which he argued that members of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) were actively plotting to influence video game development, saying that DiGRA “became co-opted by feminists to become a think tank by which gender ideologues can disseminate their ideology to the gaming press and ultimately to gamers.”
In June 2015, YouTube took down one of Benjamin’s videos when it received a copyright claim from The Guardian.Benjamin contested the claim against the video which used substantial portions of The Guardian‘s video. The Guardian said it was offering “advice on how to engage with Guardian content without breaching copyright.” The video was restored later the same day.One Los Angeles Times columnist wrote of the incident calling it “alarming to see copyright law used to stifle debate in the public square.”
At VidCon 2017, Anita Sarkeesian appeared on a panel discussing online harassment directed towards women. A group of YouTuberswho had frequently criticised Sarkeesian in the past, including Benjamin, filled one-half of the first three rows of the audience and filmed Sarkeesian as part of a targeted harassment campaign against her. Sarkeesian singled out Benjamin as a serial harasser of hers, calling him a “garbage human.” VidCon founder Hank Green issued a statement that the group’s actions were clear “intimidating behaviour” and apologised for the situation “which resulted in [Sarkeesian] being subjected to a hostile environment that she had not signed up for.” Benjamin later said he was not present with the intention of harassing Sarkeesian, stating he would like to know how she “would like to be approached.” Patreon also investigated the claims of harassment, but determined that although they considered his actions “distasteful,” Benjamin had not violated their code of conduct.
Patreon banned Benjamin in December 2018, when he was earning over US$12,000 a month. According to Patreon, Benjamin violated the site’s rules on hate speech by using “racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual.”A number of users, including Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Dave Rubin left the platform following the ban of Benjamin. Harris stated that he did not “share the politics of the banned members,” but objected to what he described as “political bias” on Patreon. As part of their explanation for why they dropped Benjamin, Patreon published a transcript of a YouTube video in which Benjamin stated that members of the alt-right were “acting like white niggers” because “[e]xactly how you describe black people acting is the impression I get dealing with the Alt-Right.” He added that “White people are meant to be polite and respectful to one another.” Later in the video, Benjamin stated “don’t expect me to have a debate with one of your faggots.”In response, Benjamin has said that his targets were not black or homosexual, and he claimed that the word “nigger” is not offensive in Britain as it is in the United States. Benjamin also claimed that the comments had been taken out of context.
In March 2018, North London Antifa protesters broke into a scheduled discussion between Benjamin and Yaron Brook by King’s College London’s Libertarian Society at the school. Masked protestors attacked security guards, set off smoke bombs, broke windows and allegedly attacked other attendees. The event organisers called the police, cancelled the event and evacuated the building. The organiser reported that two security guards were hospitalised.
In June 2018, Benjamin joined UKIP, along with other social media activists Mark Meechan and Paul Joseph Watson. The trio’s membership has been described by political analysts as part of a shift to the far-right in the UKIP under Gerard Batten’s leadership. In the European Parliament’s 2019 elections in the United Kingdom, Benjamin was second on UKIP’s list for the South West England constituency. Benjamin was not elected, with his party getting only 3.22% of the vote in his native South West England constituency (a drop of 29.1% from 2014) and losing both of its seats in the region, as well as all twenty-two of its seats across the rest of Britain.
Benjamin is married and has two children. He lives with his family in Swindon, Wiltshire, England.
- Carl Benjamin’s channel on YouTube.