Twitter confirmed it has permanently banned Breitbart Tech editor and alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos for allegedly violating its “hateful conduct policy”.
The contretemps has been brewing all week, as Milo engaged in a barbed to and fro with embattled Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones over her Twitter feud with trolls who hated her new movie. At one point the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey intervened himself, asking Jones to direct message him. Milo himself said nothing racist, though he joked that Jones’ grammatically challenged quips at him were “barely literate”, said America needs better schools and referred to Jones facetiously as “a black dude”.
Milo has been suspended from Twitter before and also lost his verification tag. Will tonight’s suspension really be permanent?
Earlier today Milo said he was not sorry for his dialogue with Jones.
“No, of course, I don’t have any regrets,” Milo told Heat Street. “But feminists on the other hand should have regrets that they have taught strong women that they are victims and attacked people for having different opinions to them on Twitter.”
Milo also defended himself against accusations of racism with the fact he has a propensity for black men.
“I keep getting accused of being a white supremacist. But if that’s the case, I must be the first black-dick-sucking white supremacist in history.”
A Twitter spokesperson released a statement regarding the incident.
People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Over the past 48 hours in particular, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of Tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.
We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree. We are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to better allow us to identify and take faster action on abuse as it’s happening and prevent repeat offenders. We have been in the process of reviewing our hateful conduct policy to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted. We’ll provide more details on those changes in the coming weeks.
The permanent ban is a distinction rarely awarded by Twitter. Uber conservative journalists Chuck Johnson and Robert Stacy McCain are some of the few members of the exclusive club.
Whatever your opinions on Milo, he represented a line in the sand for free speech. An ability to freely broadcast controversial, offensive, sometimes wrongheaded opinions on social media. His suspension will no doubt be disconcerting to free speech advocates and far right Twitter shitposters everywhere.