Several published reports speculated that the ban was spurred by Yiannopoulos’ tweets inciting his followers to go after actress Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the new Ghostbusters movie, although Yiannopoulos did not personally send Jones any offensive tweets.
Jones said in a tweet Tuesday that all the racist and abusive tweets she had received drove her to leave Twitter, but prior to that, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had reached out to Jones in a tweet asking her to send him a direct message.
I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today…wrong
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
@Lesdoggg Hi Leslie, following, please DM me when you have a moment
— Jack (@jack) July 19, 2016
Yiannopoulos’ Twitter account had more than 338,000 followers, and the #FreeMilo and #FreeNero hashtags were still showing up as trending on Twitter Wednesday.
Tuesday’s suspension does not mark Yiannopoulos’ first run-in with Twitter: According to reports, he had been temporarily banned on a number of occasions, and the social network also removed his verified account status.
Breitbart pointed out that the suspension occurred “just 20 minutes” before Yiannopoulos’ “Gays for Trump” event took place at the RNC, and it shared the following statement from Yiannopoulos:
With the cowardly suspension of my account, Twitter has confirmed itself as a safe space for Muslim terrorists and Black Lives Matter extremists, but a no-go zone for conservatives.
Twitter is holding me responsible for the actions of fans and trolls using the special pretzel logic of the left. Where are the Twitter police when Justin Bieber’s fans cut themselves on his behalf?
Like all acts of the totalitarian regressive left, this will blow up in their faces, netting me more adoring fans. We’re winning the culture war, and Twitter just shot themselves in the foot.
This is the end for Twitter. Anyone who cares about free speech has been sent a clear message: You’re not welcome on Twitter.
Twitter responded with the following statement, which did not specifically mention Yiannopoulos:
People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.
We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.
Readers: What are your thoughts on Twitter’s permanent ban of Yiannopoulos?
Image of Yiannopoulos and his message from Twitter courtesy of Breitbart.