(AP Photo/Max Becherer)

David Duke is banned by Twitter, then brought back, for threatening to shut down synagogues

The former KKK grand wizard is calling this a free speech issue even though Twitter is a privately-owned company


Matthew Rozsa
March 8, 2017 3:00AM (UTC)

Less than a year after permanently banning alt right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, Twitter banned — and then inexplicably reinstated — the account of former KKK grand wizard David Duke.

While it is unclear why Twitter banned and then reinstated Duke's account (Twitter did not reply to a request for comment), Duke provided a statement to The Daily Beast claiming that "anyone who takes a position from the right is subject to be removed from Twitter. Moreover, freedom of speech in regards Internet [sic] is basically non existent unless you have a Marxist left wing opinion." After his account was reinstated, Duke added that he "had no idea why I was suspended."

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Duke's Twitter account has been the center of media controversy in recent weeks. Last month he was engaged in a high-profile feud with actor Chris Evans, best known for playing Captain America, over Duke's support for the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Session, R-Alabama, as attorney general. Business Insider claimed that this is the reason behind the suspension of Duke's account.

Although Duke spokesman Mike Lawrence told The Daily Beast that "at this point, [Duke] seems ambivalent in regards to [his] Twitter account," Duke has been actively tweeting on a number of subjects in the 24 hours since his account was restored.

This isn't the first time that a prominent white supremacist had their account deleted and then reinstated. In December Richard Spencer was banned because he had too many overlapping accounts.

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"Our rules explicitly prohibit creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses. When we temporarily suspend multiple accounts for this violation, the account owner can designate one account for reinstatement," Twitter explained to BuzzFeed. "Twitter Rules also prohibit hateful conduct, harassment, and violent threats. We will take action on accounts that violate these policies."

On Tuesday, the Anti-Defamation League Jewish tweeted that Jewish community centers in at least five states and multiple ADL offices received bomb threats.

David Duke has not tweeted in response.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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