Bluehost.com management refuse to take down hate-filled website


UPDATE 26/02/2011: BlueHost have now suspended this website. Thanks to the many people who made complaints and brought this to the attention of the internet community and mainstream media.

Amid the tragedy of the Christchurch Earthquake, I was shocked to find this website – http://www.christchurchquake.net (removed). The (clearly un-medicated) owner has hidden their identification but the website is hosted by BlueHost.com in Utah. As you can see from my discussion with Blue Host customer support (below), their management has decided not to remove the website and is hiding behind the excuse of needing legal direction from a court before they can do anything. This is clearly unnecessary and the cynic in me thinks that they are hoping to generate some media attention from it. Either that or their company management is utterly spineless.

Please contact BlueHost and let them know what you think! A help and resources page for the Christchurch Earthquake is here.

Online Discussion with BlueHost.com support staff

(I am “FIRST TIME SALE”)

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:04:41 PM] Hi there… I just wanted to alert you that you’re hosting an offensive website… www.christchurchquake.net

Jolynn: [6:05:27 PM] Thank you for letting us know. I can get you to our Terms of Service Department for review. Just a moment please

——————————————————————————–
Tony: [6:05:38 PM] Welcome to the Terms of Service department. Please be patient as I am often working with several different people. Thanks! How may I assist you?

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:06:01 PM] I just wanted to let you know that you’re hosting an offensive website: www.christchurchquake.net

Tony: [6:07:42 PM] yes, we’re well aware of that site… we’ve been getting quite a few complaints about it today.

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:08:03 PM] I thought you might be 🙂

Tony: [6:08:52 PM] Unfortunately, while they may be quite objectionable, they aren’t in violation of our Terms of Service, so we are unable to take action against them at this time.
[6:09:21 PM] Should they cross the line, or should we be presented with a valid court order for the takedown of the site, we’ll shut them down.

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:09:26 PM] Isn’t publishing hateful material against the law there?

Tony: [6:09:57 PM] yes, but the material has to be deemed “hate speech” by a court first.

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:10:23 PM] Bluehost can choose who they have as customers

Tony: [6:11:23 PM] Questions of libel, slander, defamation and hate speech are legal matters, about which a court must make a decision. We can remove a website if we receive a court order so stating. Please provide a notarized copy of the injunction or other court order once you have obtained one; we can then verify the document with the court and take action.
We apologize for this inconvenience; in matters such as this, we must rely upon the courts’ discretion.

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:13:02 PM] I’m sorry but that’s absolute rubbish. You can do business with whoever you choose to. You’re saying that you have no morals, only the law.

Tony: [6:15:25 PM] I am sorry but this is the position taken by our management regarding this website. We are currently monitoring this website and should they violate our Terms, we will act, but until that happens, only a court order will be sufficient to take down the site.

FIRST TIME SALE..: [6:16:26 PM] I understand that it’s not your call. Thanks for your time. Maybe you need new management. Perhaps you will when the media get hold of it!

7 Responses to Bluehost.com management refuse to take down hate-filled website

  1. Sarah king says:

    BlueHost sound gun-shy to me. They’ve obviously been the piggy in the middle of some other fights or else they’re intimidated by the owner and have had other run ins.

    Given that Christchurch isn’t a Muslim stronghold how on earth can it be payback for 9/11?

    I wonder what cheery words were said about the Queensland “troubles”?

    • Dave Smyth says:

      Well yeah, the USA is so litigious that it wouldn’t surprise me if someone was able to successfully sue for removal of their gay-bashing website!

      There are also rants about the Queensland floods and the Pike River Mine disaster if you can be bothered looking. I think the author is probably mentally ill.

  2. Trudi Sully says:

    Have had an online rant to them myself, and shared your post on facebook. With any luck they will be so swamped with complaints that they will take out that injunction themselves!!

    • Dave Smyth says:

      I’m beginning to wonder if it’s actually something they agree with. A lot of Christian fundamentalists in that area. The website even breaches their own terms of service.

  3. Dave Smyth says:

    I’ve just contacted BlueHost again to ask why they haven’t removed the website yet. I was transferred to their Terms of Service department and disconnected.

    Nathan: [1:30:29 PM] Thank you for contacting our sales team! My name is Nathan. May I ask what your name is?
    FIRST TIME SALE..: [1:30:38 PM] Dave
    Nathan: [1:30:53 PM] hello dave
    [1:30:59 PM] how may i help you today?
    FIRST TIME SALE..: [1:31:21 PM] www(dot)christchurchquake(dot)net – why are you still hosting this? It breaches your terms of service and you have the right to remove it.
    Nathan: [1:31:57 PM] ok, let me get you over to our terms of service department. one moment.

    [disconnected]

    I suggest anyone who can should email them on abuse@bluehost.com asking for removal of the website. It breaches their own terms of service.

    Section 9.14 (Obscene, Defamatory, Abusive or Threatening Language)
    Section 9.16 (Harmful to BlueHosts reputation and business)
    Section 11.6 (Bluehost reserves the right to cancel anyone’s account)

  4. Sarah says:

    In my experience with Bluehost, they are very meticulous about what they suspend for. While they still need to uphold freedom of speech they also uphold a certain moral standard as well (no profanity, hate speech, etc). Until they find a blatant display of this they typically don’t shut down until further review (which could take days or weeks). They just tell you they can’t do anything for the time being because they usually review these sites.

    Honestly, I’d rather a company investigate such things instead of being trigger happy and deactivating an account just because a few people don’t agree with the message that is being communicated. Although I don’t agree with what is on that site, I still do believe in Freedom of speech.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents. 🙂 But it does appear to be suspended.

    • Dave Smyth says:

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your post. As you can see from what was written above, BlueHost did not say they were investigating it. The stance of their management was that they would not remove it without a court order. This seemed to be repeated to everyone who complained. They had received enough complaints about the site that their management had made a decision to not do anything. This is despite their terms of service allowing them to remove it without notice for a number of reasons. BlueHost clearly didn’t consider the site to be offensive, defamatory or abusive. BlueHost are a Mormon-backed company and have had run-ins like this before.

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