The proprietor of the 8chan chat forum characterized moves to shut down his website because it hosted hate posts related to lethal U.S. murders as “sinister” and “cowardly.” In a video uploaded to Youtube on Tuesday, Philippine-based Jim Watkins said the lethal weekend assaults in the American towns of El Paso and Dayton were a tragedy.
But Watkins insisted that 8chan had not breached any legislation and dedicated most of his seven-and – a-half-minute video to criticizing the subsequent moves to shut down his forum.
Watkins portrayed attempts against 8chan as part of the internet’s “energy consolidation” by a few powerful and wealthy radio and television stations in past generations.
8chan, which encourages itself as a site dedicated to “the darkest reaches of the Internet,” was home to posts by right-wing extremists, misogynists and conspiracy theorists.
A manifesto denouncing a “Hispanic invasion,” said to have been written in the El Paso attack by the young white male American suspect, was posted on 8chan shortly before he gunned down 22 people and wounded more than 20 others.
Shortly afterwards, 8chan was compelled offline when the digital infrastructure company Cloudflare terminated its services on the forum.
In a blog post announcing the move, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince defined 8chan as “a cesspool of hatred.” Watkins said the allegations had caused him “enormous harm” and hit Prince back.
He stated that 8chan stayed offline after a second upstream supplier had also shut down service to another site where the forum had been moved. But Watkins said he was looking back online at ways to get 8chan, which he said had a community of one million users.