The big tech onslaught of silencing comedians from the ability to do their jobs has not ceased. This ongoing effort to try and control the Overton window of comedy is ruining it for the rest of us.
BY MARCUS OUJLA, FEBRUARY 17, 2021
A popular political and controversial comedian, Owen Benjamin, was de-platformed in December 2019 from YouTube, a platform in which he had over 300 thousand subscribers. Many users were banned after the FBI published a bulletin (May 2019) describing the dangers of conspiracy media, and imploring social media sites to begin a purge of content that they thought was violent. While the qualifications that indicated such status were vague, YouTube leveraged the call from the FBI and deleted over a million channels.
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Owen, along with many right-wing public figures who were also getting banned from YouTube during the same time, moved to the social media platform DLive.
DLive: Platform of Paradise?
DLive was very welcoming to the expansive number of people flocking to new outlets during this time of widespread social media banning, along with individuals such as PewDiePie looking to expand into new platforms during this time of social media platform upheaval.
DLive looked at Owen's content and approved his ability to stream on their site but with the requirement to enable the age restriction for adults ages 18 and up. Owen commonly uses profane language and presents adult topics with comedic effect.
Trouble in Paradise
Everything was going just fine until the protest that happened in Washington DC at the beginning of 2021.
The protest at the United States Capitol (January 6, 2021) occurred in response to American citizen's dissatisfaction with the US government mishandling of widespread accounts of voter fraud. This event and the aftermath put into motion a wide-scale banning of individuals and alternative platforms around the web due to mainstream media's attempt to silence those reporting on the news.
This was an absolute disaster. Those who reported on what happened, in some cases, had content deleted or were de-platformed, simply because they were not skewing the details the way that mainstream media desired (blanket labeling all in attendance as terrorists). The stories from those actually there showcased the reality that most people who went to the protest were, in fact, quite peaceful.
Immediately following the event on January 6, 2021, DLive suspended Owen for a month. There was no reason for the suspension and Owen expressed his frustration and confusion.
On January 23, 2021, what started off as a one-month suspension of Owen without an explanation became a complete removal of Benjamin's account from DLive.
This is a screenshot of the suspension that occurred, deplatforming Owen from DLive.
Owen quickly jumped on social media to inform his followers of what happened.
This is an image of a post shared through Owen's team on Instagram after the removal of his account from DLive.
Who is Owen Benjamin and the Bears?
This is an image of Owen that he posted on his official Facebook page.
By the 2010s, Owen Benjamin was a well-established comedian and his rise to fame was growing exponentially. He was a regular at the Hollywood Improv and featured on tours with many other artists in the comedy world.
Besides stand up-comedy, Owen had many roles in movies and television, including the movies Jack and Jill, and The House Bunny. He learned classical piano at a young age, so music has been an integral part of his act.
Life seemed to be going well for Owen. It seemed he had security in his craft of comedy. Things took a turn when he became outspoken publicly against parents who give hormone blockers to very young children to change their gender. Later, he was kicked out of the comedy world and dropped by his agent.
After being rejected by the comedy industry, Owen and his followers started a group known as The Unbearables. Owen took on the role of being called the Big Bear, a reference to an old nickname he once had. After being ostracized by the mainstream media, he began homesteading and became interested in sustainable living. With his wife and children by his side, he tended to his garden and animals while sharing his life with others. Turning back to God, Owen found his faith again in the process and helps his followers live a more moral life.
The Most Banned Comedian
In the last ten years, during this age of censorship, I can’t think of another public figure who has experienced more suppression than Owen. He was blacklisted from performances at local venues, and banned from Twitter, Facebook, Paypal, and Youtube, and Airbnb. Generally speaking, the banning occurred over Owen being publically outspoken on certain issues, as well as his comedic behavior asserting derogatory comments around race, sex, and gender. It's clear to see that in this day and age, what once was considered comedy is now seen as offensive and hateful, even if made without the intention to harm, but instead, highlight parts of our culture needing comedic relief and a deep sense of catharsis.
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"Intention should always be brought into question before making a judgment. You’ll find most of the time, the only intent of a comedian is to make someone laugh."
- Marcus Oujla
Owen was specifically banned from Twitter for mocking David Hogg, a person who was present during the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida in February of 2018.
A common thread that plays out as these school shootings occur is the manipulation of the narrative, and the leveraging of individuals involved as catalysts for implementing gun control legislation. Owen used his voice on Twitter to amplify the concerns of hiding behind children as a shield to implement political agendas through the court system.
The banning extended into the world of finance. Owen is unable to do online banking which made it difficult to have a source of income. His fans will send letters in the mail with donations to help support his hours of streaming, sharing laugher and knowledge with others.
Is Owen Benjamin as Horrible as 'They' Say?
Owen has had many labels thrown at him. The interesting thing is, anyone who follows him understands where he is coming from. He has thousands of supporters. With a half-Hispanic wife, three children, and followers from all walks of life and backgrounds, it's pretty clear that most of the labels placed on him (especially claims that he is a 'racist') hold no relevance.
I'll just jump in here and disclose that I have followed Owen's media presence for four years and have witnessed nothing but a positive outlet that showcases his personal growth and nurtures a place for a community.
I once saw him perform at a local Greek Orthodox church here in Vancouver, Canada. The event was put on by The University of British Columbia's Free Speech Club. Secondly, I was able to see him in Portland in a woodworking shop. Owen's media team filmed a comedy tour special in an airport hanger and opened up the event to anyone who wanted to attend.
The main appeals I saw in the community that Owen was building was a solution for escaping the beast system through creativity and self-sufficiency, and an open field to laugh and share ideas.
Owens has instilled many wonderful values in his followers over the years. Jacob Telling encapsulates this fact by sharing insights that he learned from Owen in a book he wrote called, How Dare You, for sale now on Amazon.
This is an image of Owen during a promo in reference to the name of his website Huge Pianist
Community and Beliefs
Owen shares his life openly and it’s fun to witness as he develops new beliefs and ideas as time passes. Becoming a Christian and bringing people back to God is one of the ways he is a positive role model.
Helping others build and grow in their own community as he builds his own has been beneficial for his many followers. Subjects he focuses on are:
giving people hope,
showing them a way out, and
Launching his own media website that an entire family, old and young, can read without witnessing the horrors of this world is called The Beartaria Times. There is also an online trail for Bears to help support each other's businesses, connect with one another, and build friendships.
No matter how many arrows Owen has taken, he continues to declare that he is not a victim and we must get out of this victim consciousness. For how much turmoil he has faced, many more blessings came into his life as a result.
An Artist From The 'Bear' Community Speaks
Martin Rybacki, the artist of the below image, agreed to join this article feature to share his thoughts with us on what inspired him to make such a great piece of work.
This beautiful image depicts the life of Owen and was created by artist Martin Rybacki from Instagram.
The image was inspired by small scenes from the streams that I found meaningful and poignant.
But the main formal idea is that the man is who is holding (protecting, providing) the mother of the family (nurturing), but in return, he is held by the goat, which symbolizes nature and the basis for a traditional and natural human life.
Above all is the dove (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) and the arrival on fertile land (story of Noah). So there is both hierarchy and balance.
Scenes from the streams:
Amy (Wife) feeding Owen grapes
Back-patting little Jack
Walter head-butting the goat
Charlie on the four-wheeler
Persistence is fertile
The "tribe of crushing“ written on the stone
I did not want to include much grabble in the image (there is some minor one hidden), because it’s supposed to be a wholesome image. That’s why the "must be nice“ is actually true in a positive sense when it’s empty of envy. Funnily, Owen mentioned the irony-free "must be nice“ himself a couple of streams ago.
A Legal Case with Patreon
Owen continued to battle for his freedom of speech after being banned from DLive. Previously, he was banned from Patreon, a platform where subscribers can donate monthly to help artists and creators. Following this banning, he assembled a legal team of people in his community who saw a hole that could be used against big tech companies that most people overlooked.
A legal defense called tortious interference describes how the decision of a platform to ban a creator "disrupts the economic relationship between creator and backer." Owen's legal team pursued this as a legal defense.
You can read more on Owen's lawsuit against Patreon from the popular media commentator, Mike Cernovitch, who followed this case extensively.
In the middle of the case, Patreon changed their terms and services in an attempt to counter this legal move.
Patreon changed its TOS at the top of the year as a direct result of these actions. Previously, their Terms of Service states (sic) those wanting arbitration must alert the company that they planned on doing this. Once these notifications happened, the tech company updated its TOS to bar claims the parties were going to bring.
- Matt, The Laugh Button
Patreon filed a countersuit against the Bears in an attempt to halt the arbitration, which was denied by the court. The judge ruled in favour of Owen's team and the arbitrations continued.
Patreon's case against the Bears was dropped on January 13, 2021, as disclosed to the Bear community in a private social media forum on January 22, 2021. The notice stated:
"The California Superior Court informs us that Patreon dropped its lawsuit against the Bears on January 13th. 2021-01-13 Dismissal of Entire Action of All Parties And All Causes of Action With Prejudice. 2021-01-13 Notice Re Request For Dismissal With Prejudice Filed by Plaintiff Patreon, Inc."
Back to the Recent Removal of Owen Benjamin from DLive
Now that DLive removed Owen's account it will be interesting to see what happens next. He may look into finding a new home to stream in the meantime. Currently, he uploads pre-recorded videos he films to Unauthorized.TV, and hopes to start live streaming there soon.
Even though Owen Benjamin has suffered censorship across the board, he still keeps going.
This is inspirational, to say the least. We are witnessing an onslaught of people's voices being punished online by big tech, but it's empowering to see them continuing to power through and fight for free expression.
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This is a developing story. Follow TrulyFreeSociety.com for updates on this issue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcus Oujla is a researcher, knowledge seeker, and lover of the truth. He shares his passion for freedom and liberty through delivering impacting articles about pop culture, memes, and philosophy. Marcus brings his own piece of the puzzle to the Truly Free Society team. With a huge heart and gentle soul, he hopes to inform others while building them up. Marcus believes that we are all in this together.