A prominent conservative commentator and radio show host was suspended for 12 hours from Twitter on Friday for posting a joke poking fun at 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s fake Native American Indian identity.
“Elizabeth Warren set to introduce the Wrecking American Prosperity Under Marxism, or WAMPUM Act, wherein she gives everything away for free,” well-known conservative Erick Erickson wrote Thursday in a since-deleted tweet.
It’s unclear whether he voluntarily deleted the tweet or was forced to because of his suspension. What’s known is that he received a notification Friday informing him that his joke violated Twitter’s “rules against hateful conduct.”
Twitter has suspended establishment conservative Erick Erickson for an Elizabeth Warren joke pic.twitter.com/jcH74D9O7O
— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) May 31, 2019
In his tweet, the conservative commentator made fun of Warren’s socialist vision of using the government to hand the American people a bag of endless freebies, including free college tuition, free childcare, free health care, free every single thing on Earth.
Erickson also non-provocatively took a jab at her fake identity as well. ‘Wampum” refers to “beads of polished shells strung in strands, belts, or sashes and used by North American Indians as money, ceremonial pledges, and ornaments,” according to Merriam-Webster.
It’s unclear what was hateful about his tweet. Some believe that perhaps Twitter had thought the joke was an attack on Native American Indians. But it wasn’t:
.@EWErickson is suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for making a “wampum” joke about Elizabeth Warren. (See below.) But his point was not to mock her for being an American Indian, but for *falsely claiming* to be one. pic.twitter.com/VFt6ImZa85
— Patterico (@Patterico) May 31, 2019
Erickson personally believes his suspension was the result of Twitter’s biased algorithm.
“I suspect it was an algorithmic ban, but algorithms written by progressives are more likely to consider conservatives problematic,” he said to The Daily Caller. “Of all the things to ban for though. That’s just stupid.”
Especially when you factor in the genuinely provocative, hateful and sometimes even violent rhetoric that’s allowed to remain on Twitter, including the following:
I never tell you enough how much I want you to go fuck off and die a painful death ?✌?
— Kayla Hanson (@campfirevampire) May 23, 2019
Fuck you Donald @realDonaldTrump you small minded cuntbag. For my children’s sake I hope you and your kind die a slow and horrendously painful death.
— Iain Humphrey (@not_a_camel_) May 31, 2019
You are a wholly terrible person and deserve to die painfully then rot in hell. This is not opinion. This should happen in a just world. But of course it’s not. Maybe it can happen anyway. Fingers crossed.
— Ronin Leto (@LetoRonin) May 27, 2019
You’re a criminal. That’s what the report side. You deserve to die in prison. Happy Mother’s Day!
— Grey Jung (@Apex_Owl) May 12, 2019
You deserve to die in jail.
— Steve Work (@Seeking_Beta_69) May 3, 2019
We hate you! You legitimately deserve to die.
— Matthew JS Oliver (@MatthewJSOliver) April 29, 2019
Some of the tweets above are over a month old. Why do they get to stay while Erickson’s tweet had to be removed? JD Rucker, the editor-in-chief of NOQ Report, appears to suspect it might be because of political affiliation.
“There is no rational, intelligent American who could read Erickson’s Tweet and come away thinking it was promoting violence against, threatening, or harassing Warren based on any of the protected classes they list,” he wrote in a column Friday. “It’s not even debatable.”
“This is Twitter violating its own hateful conduct policy by harassing Erick Erickson because they disagreed with his politics. It was a joke, and not an exceptionally provocative one by any stretch of the imagination. It’s outrageous.”
This is Twitter violating its own hateful conduct policy by harassing @EWErickson because they disagreed with his politics. It was a joke, and not an exceptionally provocative one by an stretch of the imagination. It’s outrageous. https://t.co/k7h68T38qE
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) May 31, 2019
Did he have a point? Yes.
According to research by Richard Hanania, Ph.D., a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, “Twitter treats conservatives more harshly than liberals.”
In a column for Quillette earlier this year, he cited what happened to black conservative activist Candace Owens versus what happened to left-wing “journalist” Sarah Jeong as a perfect example of this.
“Indeed, it is not difficult to find cases of liberals engaging in speech that appears to cross the line while not being punished for their transgressions. This includes the case of Sarah Jeong,” he wrote.
“After she was hired as an editorial writer for The New York Times, it was discovered that over the years she had posted dozens of messages expressing hatred and contempt of whites. When conservative activist Candace Owens copied some of Jeong’s tweets and replaced the word ‘white’ with “Jewish,” she was suspended from the platform. Perhaps realizing how hypocritical this looked after they had not taken any action against Jeong, Twitter allowed Owens back on, but only after she deleted the offending tweets.”
Yet plenty of Jeong’s tweets — those that she hasn’t voluntarily deleted — still remain on Twitter:
The Internet of White People https://t.co/HlO4NdeVjc
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) May 8, 2018
an old white men reminiscing on his young white youth, decrying policies based on how they will affect white people
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) January 3, 2014
lol it’s always white people who get huffy about the harvard thing
— sarah jeong (@sarahjeong) July 31, 2014
These tweets — one of which makes fun of white people for wanting to ensure that their neighborhoods and communities remain safe of crime and violence — seem far more provocative than Erickson’s wampum joke about Warren.
Last year the investigative group Project Veritas released shocking undercover footage showing Twitter employees discussing ways to ban and censor political opponents, i.e, conservatives:
“I think Twitter is a private company and can do what it wants, but I think Twitter also clearly is more predisposed to punish conservatives than progressives,” Erickson said in a phone call with PJ Media. “It’s somewhat ironic that they did this today about the time Elizabeth Warren was, again, having to revisit that controversy.”
Earlier Friday Warren was called out for being “like the original Rachel Dolezal.”
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