The rapidity with which homophobic rugby player Israel Folau raised $2.2 million for his fight against Rugby Australia is just the latest example of how easy it is to monetise hate these days. It is a morbid symptom of a capitalist system plumbing the depths of moral bankruptcy.
Folau has taken Rugby Australia to the Fair Work Commission after he was sacked for breaching his contract by posting offensive public attacks against homosexual people on social media.
Folau's celebrity hate crusade has garnered a lot of the attention — but his is just one of many well-monetised hate campaigns.
For instance, we have the famous radio “shock jocks” — overpaid talk-back radio commentators who have well-oiled crews prepping them day-in-day-out to press the buttons of hate and prejudice.
Alan Jones — the shock jock who helped incite the infamous 2005 Cronulla race riot — was reportedly paid $4.5 million last year.
There is also Sky News after dark, which hosts an ugly gang of right-wing hatemongers, including tabloid columnists such as Andrew Bolt.
Some very rich people fund these channels of hate and prejudice. Billionaire Rupert Murdoch is arguably chief among them. The notorious billionaire Koch brothers (with a combined wealth of US$120 billion) fund far-right groups around the world.
But there are many other faceless billionaires and corporations promoting — and profiting from — the hate industry.
Facebook, YouTube and PayPal are among the tech companies identified as having profited from monetising hate.
The fact that billionaires deliberately fund hate and prejudice is not surprising. But why are many working people sucked into donating money to various online hate campaigns?
First, because they are subject to non-stop propaganda from the likes of Murdoch.
Secondly, because it is much easier for right-wing propagandists to press hate buttons that build on long-entrenched prejudices and antagonisms.
Racism, sexism and homophobia are thickly layered in capitalist culture. They help keep the oppressed at each other’s throats — all the better for the capitalists to divide and rule.
The greater part of the population will only be fully freed of all this hatred, prejudice and division by becoming involved in the struggle to change society.
One practical way of countering the monetisation of hate is to support projects such as Green Left Weekly that seek to build these kinds of struggles.
You can become a supporter for as little as $5 a month and be part of the solution.
Get friends and family to become supporters too or make a donation to our fighting fund.