Can You Call Pro-‘Free Speech’ Gettr’s Billionaire Backer a ‘Spy’ on the App? We Tested It.

Luis G Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Luis G Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Even for Gettr, the MAGA-friendly social-media platform conceived as an anything-goes haven for free speech, some right-wing claims are apparently a speech too far.

While Gettr, which was created by former Trump adviser Jason Miller, has gained the endorsement of MAGA stars like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, it has faced criticism from elements of the right over its deep financial ties to Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, a self-styled billionaire and avowed anti-communist who this week filed for bankruptcy.

According to these far-right critics, including up-and-coming shock jock Stew Peters, Guo, a Chinese fugitive, may in fact be a “spy” for the Chinese Communist Party. As a result, Peters alleged last month, Gettr might be an “intelligence gathering platform for the enemy to America.”

The “spy” claim isn’t particularly novel. In fact, as The Wall Street Journal reported back in 2019, the D.C.-based firm Strategic Vision US LLC, which was engaged in a commercial dispute with Guo at the time, claimed in federal court documents that the anti-communist billionaire actually works as a “spy for the Chinese government.”

But making such allegations about Guo apparently will not fly on Gettr, despite its claims to being a free-speech-centric app. Last year, conservative author J. Michael Waller bashed Gettr by claiming that if a user were to claim Guo is “a Chinese Communist Party asset” on the platform, “you’ll be censored.” He added: “Give it a try.” This Gettr censorship claim has been echoed by other social-media users.

In an attempt to test the claims that even so much as mentioning the allegations of Guo being a “spy” would result in a permanent suspension from the platform, The Daily Beast created six separate Gettr accounts critical of Guo over the past two weeks.

These accounts posted variations on the question of whether the platform’s billionaire benefactor is a “Chinese spy.” For example, one of the accounts asked, “Does Chinese spy Miles Guo fund Gettr?” It was banned from the platform just 19 minutes after its creation. “Guo a spy??” another Daily Beast-operated account asked in response to a post from the businessman.

All six accounts were promptly banned, with 83 minutes being the longest span of time a single critical post remained live. They were banned without notice of wrongdoing or explanation for the permanent suspensions.

Jason Miller’s ‘Free Speech’ Site Gettr Site Bans Users From Posting Racist Term ‘Groyper’

Two other accounts were established to post only praise for the Gettr financier. “Mr. Guo. Thank you for your service to the United States,” wrote one such Daily Beast-operated account, which remains live on Gettr. “You are a brave man.” That same account also wrote: “Thank you, Mr. Guo. TAKE DOWN THE CCP!” Neither of the pro-Guo accounts were banned by Gettr.

Since its inception, the supposedly “anti-cancel culture” Gettr has generated several controversies over its use of content moderation, drawing the ire of far-right extremists like Nicholas Fuentes who flocked to the site to say whatever they wanted.

Shortly after joining, Fuentes and members of his white nationalist “groyper army” were quickly given the boot for having “violated Gettr’s clearly defined terms of use,” as a spokesperson told The Daily Beast at the time.

And far-right pundit and former Blaze TV host Jon Miller was banned earlier this year for posting the N-word in his bio. Furthermore, MAGA operative Roger Stone, a nemesis to both Gettr founder Jason Miller and Guo’s close pal Steve Bannon, found himself temporarily suspended last year as well.

Gettr has also come under fire from wildly popular podcaster Joe Rogan, who after joining the platform earlier this year publicly expressed regret for doing so, describing it as a “fugazi” site that engages in numbers-juicing “fuckery.” He further joked, “I might be part of the Chinese Communist Party now, I believe,” in reference to Guo’s involvement with the platform.

Amid all the ongoing controversy, Guo has fallen into some financial woes.

On Tuesday, Guo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Connecticut court. The fugitive billionaire, who has served as a financial wellspring for Bannon, claimed his once-vast wealth now tallies a measly “$50,000 to $100,000.”

The move to declare bankruptcy came after Guo, who also owns a luxury Upper East Side property, was ordered to pay $134 million in contempt of court fines for moving his luxury yacht, where Bannon was arrested in 2020, out of U.S. coastal waters.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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