Twitter went after the satirical news site The Babylon Bee on Sunday, issuing a suspension over alleged “hateful conduct” for linking to an article where they refer to a man as a man.
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shared the news of the suspension and notices from Twitter about the policies that were said to have been violated.
The objectionable tweet was a link to the fake news website’s story on U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, who identifies as a trans woman, being awarded their first-ever “Man of the Year” award.
The article, which satires the decision by USA Today to name Levine one of their “Women of the Year,” details how Rachel was originally named Richard, “but he changed it to Rachel for some strange reason a few years ago” and that he “serves proudly as the first man in that position to dress like a western cultural stereotype of a woman.”
The Babylon Bee's Man Of The Year Is Rachel Levine https://t.co/mZdcXbUnmf
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) March 15, 2022
An “update” is included at the end of the piece where the author adds, “Since announcing this award, we’ve been told that Levine actually identifies as a woman. We have still chosen to give the award as his self-identification has no bearing on the truth. Congratulations, Rachel Levine!”
Dillon explained that while they remain locked out, their 12-hour suspension would not officially begin until they comply with Twitter’s rules and delete the tweet.
We're told our account will be restored in 12 hours, but the countdown won't begin until we delete the tweet that violates the Twitter Rules. pic.twitter.com/85tdmrqJpU
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 20, 2022
Twitter’s “rules against hateful conduct” stipulates, “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
Dillon remains adamant that they will not be deleting their post, stating, “Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it.” He also encouraged others to never censor the truth and force the social media platform to “ban tens of millions of us.”
I've received some messages from people asking how they can help. I can think of a few ways:
1. Never censor yourself. Insist that 2 and 2 make 4 even if Twitter tries to compel you to say otherwise. Make them ban tens of millions of us.
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 21, 2022
Other notable figures have been suspended over publicly expressing their stance that referring to Levine as a woman is absurd.
Days ago, Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-TX) shared the USA Today article with his matter-of-fact caption, “Rachel Levine is a man,” drawing waves of leftist criticism and his very own notice of violation.
Rachel Levine is a man. pic.twitter.com/OWgpKUmfHz
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) March 17, 2022
Considering Paxton is an elected official, Twitter’s statement determining “that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible” seems to suggest they are violating their own terms and encouraging harassment against him.
Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were also suspended in October when they reacted to the announcement that Levine had been named the “first female four-star officer” after being awarded the rank of Admiral.
Banks, who stated that honor was presented to a man, said at the time, “My tweet was a statement of fact. Big Tech doesn’t have to agree with me, but they shouldn’t be able to cancel me.”
Greene pointed out, “A dude who lived the first 50 years of his life as a man isn’t the first female anything.”
As the story is still developing, it is unclear if The Babylon Bee will take any measures against Twitter for the censorship. They have resorted to legal action in the past when they had an attorney issue demand for retraction against The New York Times for an alleged defamatory article that claimed the site “used ‘satire’ claims to protect their presence on [Facebook.]”
The latest update from The Babylon Bee came on their Facebook page where they shared the suspension and commented, “We are now in a world where calling a man a man, even through satire and humor, is hate speech.”
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