Louis Farrakhan: corporate censorship’s double standards

Twitter hands lifetime bans for ‘misgendering’ while anti-Semitism gets a slap on the wrist.

Guy Birchall

Topics Free Speech USA

Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, was momentarily banned from Twitter on Saturday for violating the site’s rules.

However, Farrakhan’s ousting from the worldwide river of twaddle was short-lived – his tweeting privileges were reinstated that same afternoon. Twitter said that Farrakhan’s account had been mistakenly caught in its spam filter (something that in this age could conceivably be considered a microaggression, given Farrakhan’s Muslim faith and the porcine nature of Spam).

It’s not the first time Farrakhan has been banned from social media. He was booted off Facebook in May last year for violating the site’s hate-speech policies.

A lot of what Farrakhan says is rather disobliging of Jews and LGBT people, to say the least. The minister has in the past alleged that Jewish Hollywood producers force aspiring actors to have anal sex and has branded Jews ‘Satanic’. In 2018, after being accused of anti-Semitism, he defended himself on Twitter by saying ‘I am not an anti-Semite, I am anti-Termite’. This is a statement that, outside of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, cannot be described as anything other than explicitly anti-Jew. The tweet received no censure from Twitter at the time. It was only deleted more than a year later when Twitter changed its policies to prohibit ‘language that dehumanises others on the basis of religion’.

Now, compare this to the way the site dealt with the case of Meghan Murphy. Murphy is a Canadian feminist writer. She received a lifetime ban from Twitter for making the biologically accurate statement that ‘men aren’t women’ and for ‘misgendering’ and ‘deadnaming’ Jonathan, now Jessica, Yaniv. Yaniv gained notoriety for waltzing about Canada trying to get women to wax ‘her’ hairy, yet obviously feminine, bollocks and then suing those who refused. For her remarks, Murphy was prohibited from using Twitter – forever. Yet Farrakhan, who has decades of form for promoting one of the world’s oldest hatreds, is free to carry on tweeting with gay abandon.

This is an obvious double standard from Twitter’s top brass. The intersectional power-structure view of society, which is rife in Silicon Valley and in much of the wider media, seems to be the problem here. In this view, there is a bizarre league table of who in society is most oppressed. Intersectionality makes doubles standards more likely as responses to bigoted comments are determined by the perceived status imbalance of the tweeter and of his or her targets, rather than the content of the comments.

But if we are to make policies based on immutable characteristics or historical privilege, you would be hard-pressed to find a group of people who’ve had a harder time of it than the Jews. And yet, Twitter seems to have decided that insulting trans people should result in digital ex-communication, but comparing the entire Jewish race to insects merely requires a retroactive deletion of the statement without an apology.

Corporate censorship is an intrinsically bad phenomenon and it is getting worse. The best outcome would be for Twitter to stand up for free speech on its platform with no ifs or buts. But if Twitter insists on having these hate-speech policies, they must at the very least be enforced equally and fairly.

Many may well argue that it’s only Twitter, so what’s the big deal? And it would be nice for that to be the case. To most of humanity, what goes on in the Twittersphere is insignificant and irrelevant. At its worst, Twitter is just a load of catty slebs and media tossers cycling between patting each other on the back and tearing each other down.

But this is a question of principle, of free speech and of fairness. If Twitter were operating in a fair manner it would treat the cases of Murphy and Farrakhan in the same way. And if it were committed to free speech, it would let them both speak, regardless of who may take offence to whatever it is they say.

Guy Birchall is a writer based in London.

Picture by: Getty.

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christopher birkin

2nd February 2020 at 1:31 am

So black clowns do exist, well done Turd Farrakhan you have me rolling in the aisles with laughter.

Paula Dauncey

26th January 2020 at 9:58 am

Lost me when the author compared his bigotry to Corbyn’s labour as a little joke. Let’s stop this nonsense.

I was in the party, joined because of Corbyn in fact, and i never witnessed any anti semitism in the 4 and a bit years i was a member. The party has far less anti semitism than the general population as a whole and definitely less than the Conservative party, so there are far better comparisons available than one peddled by those that didn’t want to see Corbyn in power.

By using that example, which relies entirely on one group of people saying that they are experiencing hate crime, based on their own definition of what hate crime is, you are contradicting your own argument.

I stopped believing in labour over brexit, their position on the transgender debate and climate alarmism, amongst other things… but the antisemitism charge is unfounded.

nick hunt

27th January 2020 at 5:16 pm

A reliable and mutually-acceptable measure of who is most anti-Semitic would back up your claims, which many won’t find convincing, despite your own positive experience. Many disgusted victims of Labour bigotry may see your view as wilful blindness. Does any other UK party endorse Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, or call the entire Israeli nation ‘a racist endeavour’? Then there’s the undeniability of Marx’s own virulent anti-Semitism, so much so that he often conflated ‘Jew’ and ‘capitalist’. So did many later tyrants and movements indebted to Marxist thought, perhaps most notably the National Socialists under Hitler.

Ma Har

24th January 2020 at 10:59 pm

Twitter knows knows which side their bread is buttered on.

Farrakhan has tremendous influence with the powerful “identity wing” of the Democratic Party.

Twenty One current members of the Democratic Congressional Black Caucus secretly met with Louis Farrakhan in 2005.

In 2018 when this meeting became public knowledge, all 21 refused to denounce Farrakhan for his virulent Jew hatred.

A March 2018 Rasmussen poll suggested that 50% of likely Black voters (88% voted for Hillary in 2016) hold a favorable view of Farrakhan.

(It is unclear if this support for Farrakhan is predicated on his dream of a neo “Final Solution”, or in spite of it.)

Former leaders of the popular Democrat “Women’s March” (Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour & “Bob” Bland) cited Farrakhan’s “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” to first condemn and then justify the removal of Jewish women from leadership positions.

reality lite

23rd January 2020 at 8:19 am

I think you’re being incredibly naive here. You’re treating Twatter as if it’s a public forum. It isn’t. It’s a private forum, run by Twatter, as a money making enterprise. Their house, their rules. Whatever the rules they may choose to employ. Don’t like ’em, don’t Twat.
The mystery is, why anyone would choose to. It’s not a forum for debate. It’s just people mouthing off. The internet equivalent of scrawling on the inside of toilet doors.

nick hunt

27th January 2020 at 5:26 pm

Trump chose twitter because he knows it’s his only way to speak directly to the nation, so bypassing the Democrat-media complex. This constantly wrongfoots and reveals media bias or fake news, while also provoking leftists into showing their unbalanced fear, hate and increasing unelectability just about every day. Fortunately, most hate Trump too much to ever realise or accept how he so easily predicts and outplays them.

Dominic Straiton

22nd January 2020 at 5:17 pm

Id like to know why he is culturally appropriating Beau Brummels suit and tie. I dont think he means any of his crap. Its just a money making scam.

Dominic Straiton

22nd January 2020 at 5:24 pm

With Trump and his economic policies and Candace Owens showing the way it will be Martin Luther King rather than Rachel Boyle who, in the end will win the west.

Ven Oods

22nd January 2020 at 11:07 am

Louis Farrakhan:
Nice coat; shame about the contents.

Ven Oods

22nd January 2020 at 11:20 am

Not to mention his stablemate, the lovely Jesse Jackson, who once referred to New York City as ‘Hymietown’.

Michael Lynch

22nd January 2020 at 10:58 am

It’s high time that people realized what Twitter really is; a gossip shop for the chattering classes. It’s nothing more than a middle class echo chamber and therefore useless as a platform for real debate. The only way to defeat these anonymous morons is to ignore them. Close your Twitter accounts en mass and if you feel the need to validate your opinions then debate on sensible platforms like Facebook. At least there people can’t hide behind masks and are openly accountable to friends and family alike for their posts.

Matt Ryan

22nd January 2020 at 2:34 pm

Whilst I agree with your comment on Twitter, I think Facebook is jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

steve moxon

22nd January 2020 at 10:19 am

What we want to know is how can feminists complain about being banned for saying that men can’t be women when a basic tenet of feminism is that there is no distinction between the sexes, and feminists often seek censure of those who disagree with feminist idiocy?
Of course, feminists also say that women are completely different from men: they say one thing or the opposite according to what is expedient at the time, and hope everyone fails to notice that this is a daft juggling act where the clubs are bound regularly to come crashing down to the ground.
Feminists getting banned from social media platforms is hilarious and richly deserved, whatever you think about ‘trans-gender’, but in any case, feminists are wrong on this too. Albeit of a minuscule prevalence — far fewer than is supposed — ‘somatically’ male individuals with a developmentally aberrational female ‘brain patterning’ (presumably an in-embryo malfunction) exist. Feminists don’t mind ‘transition’ [sic] in the other direction, proving that their stance is pure anti-male malicious bigotry.
I’d maybe go further: as long as we’re all required to dance the hokey wokey jive, feminists should be made to wear a dunce cap every time they leave the house!

Jonnie Henly

22nd January 2020 at 10:11 am

“The intersectional power-structure view of society, which is rife in Silicon Valley and in much of the wider media, seems to be the problem here”

That’s a pretty big claim. Is there anything to back it up?

Ven Oods

22nd January 2020 at 11:08 am

Have you watched tv or been on the internet recently?

steve moxon

22nd January 2020 at 5:50 pm

Like the past two and a half decades.
Little Jonny is so terrified of the collapse of the Left taking his cherished ideology to the rubbish tip, that he wears non-see-thru specs and earplugs to keep the world out.

nick hunt

22nd January 2020 at 9:02 pm

Next you’ll be telling us leftists don’t fear and sneer at Trump and Farage or anything else they can’t control

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