In May, far-right Canadian YouTuber Lauren Southern went live on Periscope from a tiny boat on the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy.
Southern and the members of the group were briefly detained by Italian police after the stunt.
Southern and the Identitarians are pushing a conspiracy theory that nongovernmental organizations like MSF aren’t actually saving refugees at sea, but actually part of an illegal human trafficking operation.
Southern said that once the Defend Europe campaign — led by an Austrian identitarian named Martin Sellner — had raised enough money to buy a ship to go back out to sea, she would return to Sicily.
Sellner confirmed for BuzzFeed News that they have a 40-meter-long ship called the C-Star. It’s sailing under the Mongolian flag and earlier this month, it left Djibouti for Catania, Italy.
With a ship now under their control, Southern and the Identitarians returned to Sicily, where they’ve been based for the last few weeks. Joining Sellner and Southern this time is an American far-right YouTuber named Brittany Pettibone.
Also briefly joining the group was Mail Online columnist Katie Hopkins, who was slammed in the UK press for traveling down to Sicily last week and posing for selfies with the Defend Europe crew.
The C-Star seemed to be traveling smoothly, until last week, that is, when it was detained in the Suez Canal.
On July 20, Hope Not Hate reported that the boat was being held in Egypt by the Suez Canal Authority.
After several days stuck in limbo in Egypt, the C-Star entered the Mediterranean — only it didn’t go straight to Catania. Since Friday, it’s been parked off the coast of Famagusta, Cyprus.
Over the weekend, Patreon — a site that allows people to fund "artists" — banned Southern and Sellner's accounts, which are a main source of their income.
Southern said she received a statement from Patreon's Trust and Safety team that read:
Here at Patreon we believe in freedom of speech. We are creating a platform that empowers creators to share and debate ideas. When ideas cross into action, though, we sometimes must take a closer look at what our creators are doing with the funds they earn through Patreon.
It appears that you are currently raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life. We have therefore decided to remove your page from Patreon, and paid out your final balance of $95.00 to you.