• The Handbasket
  • Posts
  • More than 200 publications join Substackers Against Nazis

More than 200 publications join Substackers Against Nazis

Despite strong media coverage, Substack founders still offer no direct response.

On Thursday I published an open letter that was drafted with input from more than 100 Substack publishers and shared by each of us on our respective Substacks. The goal? To get an answer from the platform’s founders as to why they’re platforming and monetizing Nazis. Like, actual Nazis. And the groundswell of support has been amazing.

Since the first round of us shared the letter, more than 200 publications in total have published it on their own Substacks. And our efforts have been covered by Forbes, Fast Company, The Hill, and Newser. It’s been exciting to see our reach—but above all, Substack leadership’s response to these media outlets asking them about our efforts has been quite clarifying.

Substack declined to respond to Substackers Against Nazis’ letter, but directed Fast Company to a separate open letter, written by journalist Elle Griffin, that, as of Thursday, had been signed by more than 50 publishers on the platform to signal their support of Substack’s current moderation policies. The list of signers included Matt Taibbi, Free Press founders Bari Weiss and Nellie Bowles, and the biologist Richard Dawkins.

Substack also gave Fast Company a statement echoing what it told The Atlantic: “Substack is a platform that is built on freedom of expression, and helping writers publish what they want to write. Some of that writing is going to be objectionable or offensive. Substack has a content moderation policy that protects against extremes—like incitements to violence—but we do not subjectively censor writers outside of those policies.”

Again, we’re left to wonder: If being a literal Nazi who supports Nazi policies and encouragingly posts Nazi imagery isn’t an incitement to violence, then what is?

I posted to Substack Notes—the platform’s version of Twitter—on Friday with a simple idea: 

It’s been frustrating to see how many people are willing to offer complex explanations for a fundamental concept: “Nazis are fine by me.” So I decided to strip it down to its core. And then one of the signers of the counter-letter that Substack leadership is actively promoting to media said it plainly.

In some ways, it was a relief. No more bloviating, no more talking around the thing that we know the signatories of the other letter really mean. At least from here we can have an honest conversation.

Substack has still yet to respond directly to Substackers Against Nazis, despite the letter being personally emailed to them Thursday morning. Until then, we’ll watch the participants continue to roll in—and plan our next move.

You can see the entire letter and list of signatories here. If you’d like to join the effort, email [email protected].

Join the conversation

or to participate.