It’s chaos this week at Rebel Media, one of the few conservative media resources available in Canada.
In the last week, the news service has lost at least four employees to resignation and another to a firing while Rebel founder and editor-in-chief Ezra Levant now says he is being blackmailed over alleged misuse of fundraising dollars.
And forget the November cruise where Levant promised up close and personal interaction between Rebel personalities and supporters. Norwegian Cruise Lines is no longer sponsoring the Caribbean voyage, citing the Rebel’s politics being “inconsistent” with their own vision of the world.
New Canadian Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer cancelled a Friday interview with the Rebel, citing in a statement the need to change the “editorial directions” of the news service.
The cancellation just the latest in a series of corporate rebuffs that have hurt Rebel Media’s advertising base.
The trouble all started last weekend when headline reporter Faith Goldy — fired on Thursday — was covering the Charlottesville protest. Her on-scene commentary was perceived as favorable to the white supremacists that leadership candidates in the newly-minted United Conservative Party of Alberta began to complain and insist that the party distance itself from The Rebel.
Levant sent a memo to supporters — and obtained by The Daily Caller — on Tuesday that disaowed any support for the alt-right; but it was not enough to satisfy malcontents within the organization.
Co-founder and commentator Brain Lilley quit on Wednesday. That resignation was followed by the departures of contributors Barbara Kay and John Robson.
Levant announced Thursday that provocative right-wing commentator Gavin McInnes had also left the company.
Now Levant says he is being blackmailed by former British contributor Caolan Robertson, who released a video on Thursday on YouTube that alleges Rebel Media has been conducting dishonest fundraising campaigns for the express purposes of raising money for the organization and increasing into database.
Robertson goes so far as to claim he has a recording of Levant offering him thousands of dollars in “hush money” and said he would sue him if he spoke to the British media. Robertson also claims that Levant manipulated news about the UK Independence Party while he sought to hire Nigel Farage, its former leader.
“Ezra didn’t seem to care about the truth,” states Robertson on the video.
Levant has been limiting his comments to his own website. He says he is being blackmailed.
“I’ve always known the rule that if you’re ever being blackmailed, don’t pay. I mean, even if you think you can pay a blackmailer, they’ll just ask for more a second time. But you’re scared. So you pay. I thought I could make the problem go away, so I actually paid. And then I paid again. But then they threatened again. Last night actually. So I haven’t slept,” he wrote.