Patreon Says They Only Target Art Featuring “Minors”
Various artists, mostly Asian, have been targeted and banned by Patreon for art they claimed “sexualized minors”. The artist were told by Patreon’s staff that anime-style art featuring cutesy characters where their faces didn’t have wrinkles or showed them as being old, could be depicted as “minors” and therefore they had to delete their art both on Patreon and off-site. This blew up in artist circles, leading to Patreon issuing a statement that they aren’t targeting any specific styles, only specific styles where the characters appear as “minors”.
Patreon issued their statement on Twitter instead of addressing the issues on the website. The tweet was published on March 13th, 2020, shortly after the tweets from artists went viral within artist and commission circles where Patreon was heavily criticized for what many called a racist policy.
We’d like to clarify a recent rumor about our guidelines. We do not limit any specific style (like anime) of art. But our guidelines do not allow sexualized depictions of minors. If you have questions or want clarification, you can always reach our team at [email protected]
— Patreon (@Patreon) March 13, 2020
Twitter user Tim at Where challenged Patreon’s response by screen-capping one of the letters that Patreon’s Trust & Safety department sent an artist, where they explained the criteria for what has led to the bans.
That’s not what you said to your Japanese users. pic.twitter.com/yjZK2czuBZ
— Τιμ⚥🔞 Pys Ops Survivor, DDR OG, “No More Tears” (@Tim_at_where) March 14, 2020
If you can’t view the image in Tim’s tweet, the message reads…
“Some details like a big head, big eyes, and short height can make the characters look younger.
“And, regarding body development, having bigger breasts and larger hips makes the viewer understand that the character is not a child, but they can still be teenagers under the age of eighteen as a lot of women have those puberty transformations at a very young age.
“In order to make them look like adults, the face is the most important part – so even if it’s a stylish option to make your characters look innocent and sweet, you should always bear in mind that this also makes them look younger.
“I understand you might question our point of view on this subject, but I can guarantee you that I consulted with my team before contacting you, and it is consensual among us that the characters I asked you to remove look like teenagers under the age of 18.”
Patreon didn’t respond to Tim’s post, nor any post that contained the actual words of Patreon’s staff that basically indicated that anime-style characters that look young are being targeted by the platform for what the staff claims are “ sexualized minors”.
Of course, drawings have no age, and as pointed out in our previous coverage, some of the artists noted that the characters they drew had large breasts and wide hips but were still classified as “minors” and their accounts were affected.
As people continued to post the messages from Patreon’s staff that dodged the question of how fictional character ages are determined for drawings, Patreon opted to hide some of the replies, and only responded to users with a canned response that they were attempting to avoid any additional confusion.
Some of the replies to this tweet were reacting to a rumor about a change to our guidelines. We hid some of those replies to avoid any additional confusion. https://t.co/c6RenlXHRE
— Patreon (@Patreon) March 13, 2020
Basically, whenever someone challenges Patreon on their policies regarding the bans of artists for anime-style characters, they reply with the above tweet.
Ultimately, artists are no closer to knowing what the ground rules are for being banned from the platform when it comes to drawing anime-style characters.
Patreon also avoided addressing the privacy concerns that were raised when they demanded access to a Japanese artist’s Google Drive account in order to view all her pictures to ensure that she wasn’t drawing loli characters or promoting loli content off-platform while making money from her Patreon account.
Kakuume, the artist who was affected by Patreon’s privacy invasion, is now relying on Giftee and commissions from Pixiv and Twitter after her Patreon account was closed. She also informed many other Japanese artists on social media about Patreon’s racism.
(Thanks for the news tip Animatic811 and Erobotan)
(Main image courtesy of Kakuume)