What I Have Endured: An Inside Look at Being Unpersoned in America
This is what I have experienced over the past 10 years. This is not meant for pity, we do not have time for that. It is meant as a tool for readers to have a better understanding of the situation we are facing. The more who are aware, the better odds we have to changing this situation. Be assured, I am not done fighting.
Merriam Webster Dictionary: unperson noun un· per· son ˈən-ˈpər-sᵊn -ˌpər- : an individual who usually for political or ideological reasons is removed completely from recognition or consideration
Example: In George Orwell’s novel 1984, an unperson is someone who has been expunged by the state, someone of whom all trace has been erased.
After everything I have been through over the last 5 years, it’s hard not to see an obvious targeted attack by the state and big tech on my person. I am not alone, there are many of us out there who have endured the same type of attacks over the years. If I was alone, perhaps this reality would feel much worse. Knowing there is an army of others somehow provides comfort, but it does not take away the terrible sting of knowing what my experience means to society at large.
When I started my adventures into podcasting and radio, I was naive. I thought if I did a good job and presented good content, I would be rewarded for my efforts. In many ways, I have been. Those I respect, respect me for what I do. People have followed my work over the years and many have expressed their gratitude for my passion year after year to bring quality information to my listeners and readers.
They have helped me overcome the brutal attacks that I have endured over the years. I think it is safe to say, I am no longer naive to our reality and what we face as a country and world.
My first podcast show aired 10 years ago on a small podcast internet channel when podcasting was still pretty new. The show was small but growing. It aired immediately after Newt Gingrich’s show on the same channel even though I was clearly different in our approaches and views. It was not considered a problem and it was never mentioned. I thought it was an exciting new challenge and I was excited about the possibilities.
Soon my show expanded; to the radio in New York and onto many independent podcast channels. I interviewed leaders in business, politics, and society. People were not scared to appear on my show. It was not yet standard to self censor into a small slice of “accepted” shows. We were free and people were still able to learn exciting new things in a flourishing open internet.
I expanded again and began to port my radio/podcast into video. That’s when I started to put my content up on YouTube. I smile remembering how I had 2 followers when I started, my husband and my dad. It was an exciting time where I was introduced to so many new ideas and topics that I had yet to discover. For me it was a time of tremendous growth that I am forever grateful for having the opportunity to experience.
My show grew quickly as I amassed over 100K followers and many more on audio podcast. My videos would regularly receive hundreds of thousands of views and people were able to easily find my work. I also developed my website and amassed a nice following of over 1700 subscribers on Patreon. YouTube was paying me a decent amount for airing my videos and I wasn’t being forced to monetize my content solely on in video advertising.
Then things started to change…
Sometime in 2018 I began to notice strange things on YouTube. New subscriptions abruptly stopped and people began complaining that they were not getting notices about my new shows. My video views dropped sharply and advertising revenue from YouTube also dropped sharply. I had reports from other popular channels on how to “game” the YouTube system by purchasing advertising space. They found that even buying a small amount of ad space gained them a “privileged” status. Now that they were also customers, their videos were shown more and resulted in 10x more earnings from YouTube ad revenue (i.e. 3K to 30K a month difference). Of course that was short lived once YouTube plugged that gap, but it did provide a glimpse of how the monopoly that was YouTube (they had well over 90% of the video market at that time) had started to conducted itself. The problem was not that they started to favor their customers, it was that they lied (or seriously misled the public) about it.
The other disturbing development I began to see was the sudden appearance of a troll army. It was obvious these people did not follow my work, they only appeared on certain shows where they wanted to sway public opinion. The troll army was rude, ruthless and had an agenda. They would ruthlessly criticize my guest and would write smears that would be unacceptable in any reasonable public setting. These trolls were free to roam by YouTube and it was up to me to delete and monitor my channel.
With YouTube’s environment becoming so toxic, I determined it was important to find other platforms to post my content. I expanded by posting my show to Bitchute where the show started to gain ground. Soon I started to realize that my 8K subscribers on Bitchute were producing as many views as my 125K subscribers on YouTube. Another sign that something was not right.
I then started noticing more overt censorship on YouTube. Besides the fact that the subscriber numbers were now flat and the listener numbers kept decreasing, I noticed negative minute by minute stats coming in. In other words their charts started looking something like this:
Negative numbers didn’t seem possible. I suspect they were using negative equations to hold down viewership numbers, thus making it appear that my shows were not interesting, giving it the “nothing to see here” appearance.
For reference, YouTube showed up to date viewership totals on their videos. The only way to make sure numbers were held down artificially was to manipulate the view numbers by the minute. But I suspect they overplayed the reduction in their algorithm and it showed in the negative numbers appearing on the charts. If we could do discovery in court, we could possibly prove my thesis.
Does this behavior (i.e. lying about viewership) rise to the level of fraud? Did it affect podcaster earnings? Could they pretend someone had less views so they could pay them less? All of these question could be answered if a fair trial, in an honest court, which allowed real discovery could be had.
The other more overt censorship started to occur in 2020 when they physically removed content of those they did not approve of. In other words, they became an editor, not just a publisher. In my case, they deleted 10 videos I had with MDs and PhDs who questioned the COVID narrative. All of them were highly respected in their fields and the one thing that they all had in common is that they questioned the government narrative on COVID.
So did Google/YouTube take it upon themselves to delete videos of PhDs and MDs that disagreed with the United States government on their own without having any reasonable expertise or was there an illegal partnership between Google and the United States government to censor politically inconvenient voices? Again, we would know the answer to this if a fair trial, in an honest court, which allowed real discovery, could be had.
Then YouTube ended the dance and just simply deleted my channel right before the 2020 election. There is so much more to say on this and it is well documented in the Google lawsuit that you can read. But this move in some ways ended the abuse I was experiencing on the platform. For all practical purposes, they decided to terminate their victim.
But the censorship and manipulation does not end with YouTube. There was much more going on…
Google dominates the search engine domain and currently controls 92% of the search engine market place. If Google does not want you to be seen, you are not seen. It’s an obvious problem in a free society for any one company to control the modern way we find each other and thus controlling essential elements of commerce.
But in my case, I started noticing the number of people finding my website in Google reducing. With each Google algorithm change, my website would get less and less people finding me. Until it bottomed out in 2020 at less than 100 people per month. This was a reduction of 95% from it’s peak in 2019. Now I receive 10 times the referrals from the search engine DuckDuckGo than I do from Google. To put this in perspective, DuckDuckGo has less than 1% of the worldwide market and Google has approx. 85% (see graph). If you add YouTube’s search engine market, Google (it’s parent) has closer to 92% of the market.
This obviously makes no sense unless I am being purposely unpersoned by Google.
What makes matters worse is that Google actively promotes those who they determine to be “authoritative voices” (arrogantly claiming to be the soul arbiters of truth and information). They ultimately have been promoting those who were propagating lies about COVID, the election, and many other areas while almost completely hiding other voices who were giving people information they critically needed to make better decisions about their lives. To this day, Google is still using this mode of operation.
The question must be asked, is Google manipulating information all on their own and are the sole ones responsible for hiding critical information on the internet that would have prevented the death of over 1 million people (and counting) from the deadly COVID jab as Google themselves claimed in our lawsuit? If this is the case, how much blood is on the hands of Google and are we okay with one company having this much power? Or, was Google handled or in partnership with the Government? Those questions need to be determined and the situation must be rectified if we want a chance at having a civilized free society.
Google was not the only one, censorship and unpersoning continues…
Loss of Job opportunities
Before I was targeted to be unpersoned on the internet, I had been working as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Carlson Business School. It was something I did for 5 years and I really enjoyed teaching young minds who would soon be entering the workplace. For those familiar with adjunct positions, they are relatively low pay. It’s why I had to limit how much I dedicated to teaching. To be honest, teaching at the University was a net loss for me. The income I earned was much less than the income I lossed from taking time away from earning money. But I did it because I enjoyed the process and it provided me more in other ways.
But during that period in 2016-2018, Universities began to go fully woke. After coaching youth sports for 15 years in some of the most prestigious venues, I went from being considered “too soft” by some to “too hard” by many at the University. Students came to expect a certain handholding that I was not accustomed to. That was hard for me to see. On a side note, the bigger problem was not the handholding, but the inability for students to concentrate and the noticeable anxiety and depression that was rampant throughout this group. These are real problems society needs to address.
But my employment opportunities really ended when I covered a few topics on my show that were not “acceptable”. You could not show any support for Donald Trump, none. You also could not question vaccines under any situation. No matter how credentialed and fact based, that subject is off limits. The other subject completely off limits is human trafficking, specifically with children. If you break any of those cardinal sins, you will not be able to teach at a University. There are other thought crimes too, you just have to ask the sea of people who are not allowed to teach, but those were my crimes.
I also stopped getting opportunities to speak at conferences and to interview those in the establishment. Distancing yourself from those who dare to speak truth to power is important in these circles. Its why we are in the complete mess we are in right now. Truth to power is not encouraged, it’s not honored or valued. In the rare situations where someone is honored for speaking truth to power, they arrive when it is safe and have capitalized on the opportunity to appear the leader. You are starting to see that play out now with COVID. If you look around, it is obvious who they are. You need to ask yourself, where were they when it was dangerous to speak out and when people so desperately needed their voices? And, can they be trusted to provide you with other information that is not safe but very important for you to hear later? Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful that people are waking up, we desperately need this. But COVID is just one area that needs this awakening, it’s not the only one. Are they able to speak truth to power in other areas where their voice is needed?
On it goes, the censorship and persecution does not end here…
At this point, it wasn’t enough for them, they needed to do more to unperson me. In February 2020, they took the unprecedented step to take down my website completely. GoDaddy, my hosting company, claimed that the Federal Crimes Division determined my site needed to be taken down. This means that some entity in the United States government determined that my site was doing illegal and dangerous activities and needed to be taken off line. Never did I get an explanation as to what specifically they found on my website that warranted this action, but nevertheless, they did it.
To the credit of the GoDaddy employees, they worked with me to get my domain name back so I could set up my site with another hosting company. The employees were very good to work with and did not know what to say to the abuses they saw come down. They too had no answer to what laws I had broken. I only heard from them that their company’s policies were to stay out of politics and they did not make decisions to take down sites. Those orders came from the Federal Crime division. Not the main company, whatever that means.
To this day I still have not been given an explanation from anyone anywhere explaining why my website was taken down.
But this did not end the persecution, there is more…
In February 2020 Patreon removed my channel. At this time I had almost 1800 people who supported my work on Patreon. This income was important to me and my family, we depended on it to pay bills, tuition, and to buy food. I asked Patreon why I was taken down. They specifically told me it was because they were told to take down all Qanon related content. By who, I do not know.
I reached back and told them that I am not a follower of Qanon and I do not represent Qanon. To be absolutely honest, I still to this day have not read the Qanon posts. My research comes from direct sources and other sources I trust. I did not trust an anonymous source like Qanon, it’s just not how I work.
Regardless of my pleas, they told me my content “relates” to Qanon and therefore I needed to be taken down. When I asked what that meant, “How does my content relate to Qanon”, I was not given an answer. Crickets.
To this day I still do not know why my channel was taken down from Patreon. No one will tell me directly. Considering groups whose purpose was to share child porn have been found flourishing with 150,000+ followers on the Patreon platform (that equates to at least $750K per month of income), you wonder what their priorities are?
But the tactics to unperson me did not end there…
Twitter take down
In February 2020, the same day President Trump was taken off Twitter, my account was indefinitely suspended. Unlike President Trump and many other high profile people, my account has not been reinstated. To this day I have never been given an explanation as to why my account was suspended. This is not from a lack of trying. I have asked many times to be provided with anything that would help me understand what I actually did to cause my account to be suspended. But crickets.
Considering I know so many who are still not allowed on Twitter, you must wonder if they are only allowing back a selected few high profile individuals who can help rebuild their image. Twitter may want you to believe they are now somehow a speech friendly platform, but unfortunately, that is not what I, and so many others, have experienced.
While Twitter was not my main source of readers and listeners (I did not start using Twitter much until 2019) they did provide a nice growing base of followers. In the end, I lost a little less than 25K followers who I am no longer able to connect with.
But this does not end the censorship…
Facebook has never been a main home for me. But nonetheless, I had been sharing the articles I write and post to my 8K followers on occasions. But in mid 2022, I started to upload my videos there with some initial success. My first video received over 20K views and it seemed people wanted the content I was sharing. But that lasted for a very brief period of time. After about 2 months my views dropped like a rock to less than 100 per video and has remained there ever since.
Not only do they not share my content with the public, they will not share it with those who are signed up to follow my work. I have been unpersoned by Facebook. But, at this point it wasn’t much of a surprise, I was getting accustomed to the abuse.
The tactics continue…
Media Hit Pieces and Government Smear Tactics
As if being targeted by all the attacks above is not enough, members of the media have written smear pieces targeted at me with obvious exaggerations and lies. Because I obviously do not want to support this horrid activity, I will not name the publications that have conducted themselves in this manner, but nevertheless, it is just another tactic to destroy my person.
The main sources of the smears came from calling me an extremist Qanon follower to comparing me to Alex Jones. To destroy someones reputation by comparing them to others that have nothing to do with them is smear tactics 101.
I was also accused of scaring people at the very beginning of COVID when I started covering the scary deaths mounting in China (at least in China’s media). At that time I was ironically the one who was fear mongering, but when the mainstream media started to displayed death charts daily to show the mounting COVID deaths based on lies, they were given a free pass for actually fear mongering.
The sad fact is that now we have more deaths from the jab than we had at the height of COVID (even using all of their manipulated numbers) but we hear crickets from the media.
But the attacks do not end here…
This one is harder to track, but it is still happening. Bounce backs and missing emails (the email never gets to the destination) happens often. It goes in waves as the tech companies find problems and fix them. But those who use gmail are the ones who see the most bounce backs and issues with my email.
Deletion from Newsletters
Lately I have had many reports of people being deleted from my newsletter without initiating it themselves. Mostly, my newsletter just disappears from their mailboxes and they forget about it until they see my work elsewhere. This method is highly effective in an unperson attack. It is difficult to know how pervasive this is, but in the last 6 months I saw a sudden drop of approx. 3K subscribers at one time. This was not a system removal for lack of opens or any other official means of removing subscribers, this was an unexplained unsubscribe.
This has happened to my subscriptions as well with others. For example, I was unsubscribed from both ForbiddenKnowledgeTV.net and Sharyl Attkisson’s newsletters without my knowledge. I didn’t initiate the unsubscribe action, but nonetheless it happened.
And then there is more…
Self Censorship and redirection
Everyone pretty much knows now that censorship is occurring en masse. They may not realize the true extent of the operation, but they do know it’s occurring. The scary part is that tyranny has consequences. The freedom of thought and expression that was thriving 15 years ago has been replaced by fear and self censorship. People are still sharing ideas, but they are guarded, words are limited and topics are not as deep.
The focus has changed from exploring new ideas to survival and dealing with tyranny. We are experiencing an unconventional war that humanity has never experienced before.
There are other less tangible tactics that have occurred. For example, multiple radio shows being taken off air while I was being interviewed. This one is hard to quantify because its not regular and it only occurred a few times.
I am also trying to get my head around the website ranking algorithms. My website has been a source of pride for me. It has been ranked in the top 10K sites in the United States (as of January 2023), even with all the censorship. But as of February 2023 data on only the very largest of websites are being shown. That means almost all independent sites have been wiped from the ranking algorithms. This situation I am monitoring to see what is actually going on.
Why do I continue with so many consequences?
It would be tempting to just stop. The consequences for being unpersoned are immense. But I am not the only one. There are so many others who have suffered these same attacks. Some have had their bank accounts closed and Paypal and other online payment systems have even stopped journalists, whistleblowers, activists and others from receiving funds. We all have suffered major income losses, social isolation (although people are waking up in droves), public ridicule for telling the truth and so much more.
People may say it’s better just to hide and come out when things are safe. Protect your income and your family and then come back out later. While this may be an approach for others, this is not an option for me. Once I learn a truth, I cannot unlearn it.
It has been said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”
I cannot be the one who does nothing.
Where to go from here
More lawsuits are needed. Congress needs to act. Corrupt courts need to be cleaned up. And so much more. It is not an easy problem to fix, but we must keep going or else we will lose all of our basic freedoms.
Consider me the canary in the coal mine. Power does not stop unless they are forced to stop. The power that a handful of people wield utilizing big tech as their weapon is so immense that there is no comparison to it in human history. The sad fact is that our technology could be a source for good, but they have chosen to use it to usher in an extreme tyranny never before seen in human history.
They can unperson someone because they stand up to power and tell the truth. They can unperson someone for any reason at anytime with impunity because they can and congress has shown to be controlled and the courts are corrupt. Will we have the courage to stop them? Do we have a choice?
See the Censored Conference brought to you by United For Free Speech
Sarah Westall is a successful entrepreneur and business executive. In the past 25 years, she has created and developed multiple companies including a successful management and consulting firm and a multi-million-dollar international import and manufacturing company. She has a dynamic leadership career spent building high-performance teams in highly competitive industries. She has an entrepreneurial attitude, energy, and style.
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