Twitter suspends congresswoman for criticizing affirmation of 'men who pretend to be women'
A Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives who is running for the U.S. Senate this year had her Twitter account suspended because she expressed opposition to trans-identified biological men being allowed to compete in women’s sports.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri was suspended Monday for posting a tweet stating: “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.”
She included an ad criticizing the policies allowing trans-identified biological men to compete in women’s sports, which have been in place at the Olympic, collegiate and some high school levels.
Hartzler’s Senate campaign manager, Michael Hafner, posted a screenshot of the notice Hartzler received from Twitter explaining that the post violated the platform’s rules on “hateful conduct.”
Hafner took to Twitter to call the social media site hypocritical, as the Twitter account of Russian President Vladimir Putin remains active. He called Twitter’s actions the “height of stupidity.”
“Good: Murderous psychopath who invades sovereign nation causing death and wreaking destruction,” he tweeted on Monday. “BAD: [House Armed Services Committee member and] Congresswoman who says women’s sports for women. INSANITY!”
Under Twitter’s “hateful conduct” policy, users may not “promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
“We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories,” the policy reads.
Twitter argues that “research has shown that some groups of people are disproportionately targeted with abuse online.” Such groups include “women, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual individuals, marginalized and historically underrepresented communities.”
Although Twitter claims to protect “a diverse range of perspectives,” the platform is “committed to combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, particularly abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who have been historically marginalized.”
Twitter sent a statement to Fox News stating that Hartzler’s account can be reinstated 12 hours after she deletes the tweet in question.
“The account owner will need to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours in read-only mode before regaining full access to their account,” stated Twitter.
“Per that policy, we prohibit targeting others with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
Hartzler has no plans to delete the tweet, her campaign told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The campaign labeled the suspension “shameful, utterly ridiculous, and a horrible abuse of censorship by big tech giants to stifle free speech.”
Last October, Republican Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana had his Twitter account temporarily blocked after calling U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, who was born male but presently identifies female, a man.
In response to the punishment, Banks posted a statement to his Instagram account denouncing Twitter's actions, saying that the social media site was censoring “a basic truth.”
“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. If they silence me, they will silence you,” he stated.
“We can’t allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth. When Republicans take back the House next year, we must restore honesty to our public forums and hold Big Tech accountable.”