Hey! What Happened To MY Freedom Of Speech???

Well, folks, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I was banned from Twitter, and last night it happened.  I don’t get on Twitter much … once or twice a day when I receive a notification that I have a message or that my work has been re-tweeted.  When I do get on, however, if I see something really annoying by either my representative in Congress, Trump, or somebody else, I am not above replying with a short, snarky tweet of my own.  Well, when I got on yesterday evening to reply to a message from a friend, the first thing I saw was this tweet by Ann Coulter …

“The country has been lost.  However I am determined to go down swinging by ruining soccer for as many people as possible.”

Now, you guys know that I’m not ‘into’ sports, and all I knew about soccer recently was that the U.S. Women’s team had won some big event, and that one of the team’s members is Megan Rapinoe who is a member of the LGBT community.  As I said, I do not follow sports and none of it meant diddly-squat to me.  Until I saw Coulter’s comment which I assumed was in reference to Ms. Rapinoe’s gender identity.  Turns out that is part of it, but there’s more … I’ll get to that in a minute, but I shot off a tweet in response to her comment …

 “My, but you are a stupid, bigoted woman.  An outright Bimbo, by my reckoning.”

Apparently, she took umbrage, for it was less than an hour until I received this email:

Coulter-tweet

I actually had a good chuckle over it.  According to Twitter, if I gave them my phone number and took down the tweet, my account would only be inactive for 12 hours, after which time all would be restored.  Or, if I felt that their decision was unfair, I could appeal and they would review the situation.  I wrote to them and explained that a) I spoke only the truth, b) there was no threat to Ms. Coulter, and c) I did not use any vulgar language, not so much as a single “f-bomb”, which I have seen countless other people do on Twitter.

Twitter wrote back an hour or two later, saying that they had “reviewed my appeal” and concluded that I was still in the wrong and in order to restore my account, I would have to give them my phone number and then remove the tweet.  Now, I will likely do that in a day or two, for I do have Twitter friends, and my posts all go to Twitter where they are often re-tweeted, but I’m leaving the tweet stand for now, for I am a stubborn wench and frankly, I’ve made worse tweets than that to Donald Trump and Warren Davidson, neither of whom attempted to take away my 1st Amendment rights!

Turns out that Coulter’s complaint about the women’s soccer team is homophobic, but it is also a result of the fact that two of the women on the team, the aforementioned Rapinoe and another team member, Ali Krieger, have said that they would not pay a visit to the White House, for the have (understandably) no respect for its occupant.  Apparently, there has been a back-and-forth Twitter battle between Rapinoe and Trump, complete with name-calling.  Surprise, huh?

Rapinoe has a history of civil protest, having taken a knee during the national anthem before a game, shortly after Colin Kaepernick did the same, saying …

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

Though I had never heard of Ms. Rapinoe until last week, I admire her, just as I admire Mr. Kaepernick, and much more than I admire Donald Trump.  No doubt we have not heard the last of the battle between Rapinoe and other team members vs Donald Trump, which is a pathetic statement of our nation and the man who is called “president” by some.

But, I think my right to free speech has been violated by Twitter.  If Ann Coulter can say that “the country has been lost” simply because a gay woman who doesn’t like Trump helped her team win the World’s Cup, and if she can threaten to “ruin soccer for as many people as possible”, why is it wrong for me to say she is stupid and bigoted, both of which are true, and call her a ‘bimbo’, which is a lot nicer than most of what she has called Ms. Rapinoe?

Is ‘freedom of speech’ now limited to only those who support Donald Trump?  Will Facebook or WordPress be next to try to stifle what I have to say?  Ann Coulter has, throughout her career, referred to immigrants as pedophiles, called LGBT people ‘mentally ill’, praised white supremacist Richard Spencer, calling him the white people’s answer to #BlackLivesMatter, and much more.  Her right to say those things is upheld, but my right to call her a bigot and a bimbo is not?  Actor Richard Belzer referred to Coulter as a ‘fascist Barbie doll’ … perhaps I should have tried that term.  She has called the French “a bunch of maggots”, and said that only property owners should be allowed to vote in the U.S.  And this is the woman that Twitter defends?  Something is seriously mucked up in this country.

73 thoughts on “Hey! What Happened To MY Freedom Of Speech???

  1. Jill Dennison, on my blog, the only rule is that crude language and/or other inappropriate material will not be approved. Otherwise, people can comment on whatever post I have already published.

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  2. Jill Dennison, as long as people are abiding by guidelines that certain websites have, what does it matter if they are airing their opinions on anything? What are your views regarding Youtube censoring and demonetizing conservative channels?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It matters because I have, as do many others, a strong belief that racism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry are not only wrong, but when they are spouted on social media, they are a danger in that they encourage others to hate. I am an advocate for free speech, but within limits. Ms. Coulter has a right, sadly, to spew hate and encourage others to hate, but I have not only a right, but a responsibility to call her on it. We have enough hate in this world without people like Trump, Coulter, Ingraham and others encouraging it. As to YouTube, I was not aware they were censoring anybody. I think there is a fine line when it comes to freedom of speech, and I think that if it is not accompanied by a sense of responsibility, it can be dangerous … lethal, even. I don’t like censorship, but in today’s atmosphere of hatred and vitriol, I think it may well be time that we impose certain rules.

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      • Jill Dennison, no argument there. On the matter of free speech, I am not an absolutist per se. I believe that everyone should be able to express themselves freely. However, I also believe that as long as community guidelines are followed, regardless of rules established by social media outlets, that censoring people with a difference of opinion arbitrarily is absurd if done without legitimate justification.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, banned on Twitter for expressing your thoughts. Congrats Jill, now you have acquired “street cred” among fellow bloggers! Personally I don’t see what’s wrong with expressing cohesive, reasonable, truthful thoughts regarding our Prez. I suppose defining “hate speech” is in the ear of the beholder, and Twitter is the final arbiter of all things right and wrong! *Sarcasm* 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Twitter rules are that anyone who complains about your tweet will result in suspension. It is not a measured suspension, just a knee jerk reaction.

    I have been suspended, but reinstated almost immediately, but my tweets have now got a warning on them, that they may be sensitive. I have no idea what I said, but I am now tarred.

    As for Megan Rapinoe… I saw the Matches (Women’ World Cup ⚽ football) in France. Megan is an excellent player, and captain of the team, and the USA are now Women’s World Cup holders for (I think) the tenth or eleventh time. They deserved the Cup.

    I have a friend who is an ex professional footballer and he doesn’t like Rapinoe, but didn’t elaborate. Just said she had a bad attitude. I decided that the comment might be either homphobic or because Megan is anti-Trump.

    This hoo ha, is more indicitive of the breakdown and polarisation of people. I see Trump has lowered his gun sights on the British Ambassador to the US now.
    But the Ambassador did start it… (saying the ‘King has no clothes). This could all turn very ugly here in Britain… The bigots are just waiting to run out into the street. Makes me all so sick! 🤮

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hmmmm … I wonder … if I were to complain about Trump’s every tweet, would he get the boot? Worth a shot!

      From what little I’ve read, I admire Rapinoe and her teammates. I certainly admire anybody who is willing to stand on their principles, which is just what she and the rest are doing by “just saying no” to the White House invitation. Sports personalities who have the courage to use their voice, which reaches many more people than your voice or mine, are to be commended. Kaepernick and Rapinoe are doing just that.

      Ambassador Darroch spoke nothing but the truth, and didn’t intend his words to be made public. In my view, he is an astute observer and a truthful man … Trump’s administration is, indeed, inept and dysfunctional, and we are all paying the price for it. My hat is off to Ambassador Darroch. Nigel Farage, on the other hand, has my scorn for his remark that all diplomats who don’t sympathize with trump should be purged. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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      • Megan Rapinoe has my respect too. She, at least, speaks her truth (while Trump does too, his truths are rather dishonest for the rest of us).

        It is telling what our two prime minister candidates said about Darroch. Jeremy Hunt backed him up, and Boris Johnson didn’t… Says our relationship with the US is too important. Selling your soul Boris?

        Honestly, I am ready to jump ship on the lot of them. I really want a desert island with no Government.
        I think Trump likes Boris, a) because he is a right wing, and b) because he has Royal English and German blood in his veins… Right up Trump’s ally. That man, well actually both of them, have delusions of Grandeur. 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

        • I would dearly love to send Boris, Nigel and Trump to a desert island somewhere with no food, no potable water, and NO TWITTER!!! Those three, plus Netanyahu and bin Salman, are going to destroy all life on earth! Or at the very least, the sanity of good people.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The challenge, from where I sit, is that Twitter (and Facebook) do not uniformly apply their terms of service. People like the FAUXtus and Coulter get to spew whatever hatred they want because they are “of interest,” while the rest of us get put in jail for daring to call out said hatred. I think we all know that some white dudebro on FB can spew all the hate speech he wants and our reports will be dismissed … I have lost track of how many times it’s happened to me. However, I had a comment pulled for making reference to “wh!te tr@sh” making racist comments.

    BTW, freedom of speech means only that the government won’t haul you away for expressing your opinion, not that you are guaranteed an audience in a given place. So, I have no choice to accept the FB censorship whether it’s appropriate or not. I am not quiet about it, though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • ‘Tis true that they do not apply their ‘terms of service’ uniformly, across the board. If they did, Trump would have been banned a lifetime ago, but then … how would we ever know what he’s thinking! GASP! 😉 You are right that, technically, ‘freedom of speech’ simply means the government cannot censor speech except, obviously, under certain circumstances. However, it seems to me that in the case of ‘social media giants’, there should apply a standard of fairness that applies to all. But, what should be and what is, are often different animals. I caved and removed the “offensive” post, but I will likely get the boot again before long, as I am an opinionated ol’ biddie and often my fingers act before my brain has a chance to engage. 🙂 Btw … I checked out your ‘About’ page and found we have something in common: rescue cats!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I concur that there should be one set of rules for all, not one set for the rich and famous and another for everyone else. I’m right there with you on being an opinionated old bat. 😉

        Yep, helping animals has been my passion since childhood. Thanks for having a look at my “about” page. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • 😊 Mine too!!! We are currently down to 5 rescue kitties, but at one time had as many as 10. They each have their own set of troubles, some physical, some emotional, so every day is a 3-ring circus, and while I grumble and fuss, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you’ll find the rules say you have freedom of speech to say whatever ‘we’ believe in, but if you say anything that might threaten ‘our’ revenue stream you are banned.

    I have, naturally, tweeted this.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey Jill. As you know, I’m on Twitter a lot. The sad fact is that there are a lot of MAGA accounts that look for exactly your kind of tweet and then mass report it in an attempt to suspend you. And there’s an army on our side doing the same to them.

    To your point, though, Twitter has nothing to do with your right to free speech. That right only makes it so the GOVERNMENT can’t limit what you say. Private companies such as Twitter and Facebook are free to come up with whatever rules they want to limit certain kinds of speech. That said, what is infuriating is that they are so piss-poor at enforcing those rules equally across the platform. Ann Coulter should have been deactivated eons ago for the things she’s said.

    Liked by 3 people

    • To an extent, what you say is true. I have my own ‘rules’ on my blog about respecting others, language, etc. But … Twitter, Facebook and the like are not technically ‘private’ enterprises, as they are considered social media giants, and it seems rather like a supermarket banning people based on some arbitrary criteria. We both know that others, even Coulter herself, have said far worse and not even received a slap on the wrist. But, we find ways around their discriminatory ways, yes? I did cave and take the post down, but … I’m not finished. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jeez, Jill – lol! Like Neil and Mistermuse said, Twitter thinks it is protecting its profitability and fortunately WordPress is isn’t playing that censorship game too much. I’ve posted a few comment policy rules on my blog and one against ad hominem attacks is included. However, content moderation is a tricky business. Specified rules must be clearly defined and consistently enforced to avoid accusations of bias. For social media sites as big as Twitter and Facebook, that is an impossible task. Still, I think Twitter came down on you only because you dared to criticize Coulter who is a national figure with lots of followers. I sure would’ve enjoyed seeing the look on Coulter’s face when she read your tweet, though!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Coulter can, apparently, dish it out but cannot take criticism! I finally capitulated and removed the post, for it just wasn’t worth the hassle, but I now know that there are different sets of ‘standards’ for different people. Like you, I have rules on my blog that while I welcome all points of view, and encourage civil discourse, I don’t tolerate disrespect. But, there’s a big difference between our blogs and social media giants who are profiting from our participation! I would have loved to see the look on her face, too! I generally figure people like her, Trump, etc., don’t even read our comments, but apparently she read that one! I left it up for over 24 hours, just out of stubbornness. ;).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jill, you know how I feel about this. Quite simply, your opinion is too grounded in research and merit for it not to be heard due to a flippant retort. Mind you, my wife hears a more unvarnished truth, but I do my best not to have name-calling or labels make it to print.

    We must give like we want to get it, not like it is given. I do not agree much at all with Ann Coulter, but if I said anything to her on this topic, I may have said, “I am proud of the American team’s remarkable achievement, which represents our diversity as a country. Well done.”

    You need to be heard by people who spew hateful ideas. Your opinion means far more to me than a host of others. A good friend was encouraging me to read Coulter’s books. As she would not let up, I finally said, “I must confess I don’t hold her opinion in as high regard as you do.” Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, my friend, I know exactly how you feel about it. And, as I wrote this post, I thought, “Keith is going to be disappointed in me, but he will also understand that sometimes I just have to blow off some steam”. And I must thank you for saying that you value my opinions … that means a lot to me. I must try to do better, and I know it wasn’t a very mature tweet, but … the steam had built up and I needed to vent. I thought my vent rather mild as compared to some I’ve sent Warren Davidson!

      And this is why you are the gold standard that I try to live up to, and too often fail. Roger feels the same … you are just … amazing, and I strive to be more rational and calm as you are. You have made a difference, for I am better now than I was a couple of years ago! There’s hope for me yet!

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      • Jill, many thanks. I fully understand the need to vent. Often, it takes several drafts for me to sand away the edges. What we need to consider is the president and his followers want a mudfight. They can win that. We must stick to facts and reinforce those who do.

        I watched the first Showtime miniseries called “The Loudest Voice,” about the creation of Fox News. Russell Crowe plays Roger Ailes. He hand picked Sean Hannity over recommendations to not do so, because he saw an ability to speak over guests. In test runs, when Hannity had an informed guest, Hannity looked poor. Ailes told Hannity to overwhelm his guests – the show was more important than what is said.

        What scares the president most is an informed and quick witted person. The key is not to bite on the mudfight invitation. That is so very hard. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are so right … in a mudfight, they win for they’ve had much practice and are experienced at dirty fighting. We have facts and humanity on our side, but we must use they wisely. I’ll try harder.

          I wasn’t aware of The Loudest Voice, but I’ve looked into it. It isn’t available on any of the outlets we subscribe to, Netflix or Britbox, but I may just have to take Showtime up on their free trial offer long enough to watch it, for it looks quite interesting. I’ve long said that they have the loudest voices and trample those of us who speak softly. Whatever happened to Theodore Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”? It seems that those who follow the opposite of his advice are going much farther. Sigh.

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  10. I got banned from Facebook for a day and then later for a week. No four letter words…just a simple phrase and yes it was snarky. What surprised me was all the other comments I see daily, especially from pro trump people that are truly horrible and in some cases threatening.
    I wonder about Facebook’ s allegiance or could it be a threat from the trump administration and to other various social media only news sources.
    You see where trump is now complaining about Fox, since a few are speaking more truthfully.
    And Ann Coulter has always been a racist hateful “pos.” She and Laura Ingraham come from the same dark pit of evil.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I received a warning and/or suspension (I don’t remember exactly) from Facebook many years ago for committing the egregious crime of politely questioning the integrity of a rabid right-winger who was spewing out provable falsehoods and hate speech like the propagandist that she probably was. The next day, I deleted all my posts and cancelled my account.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I know … that’s what I don’t get. I see the f-bomb on Twitter multiple times each day, but I appropriately call someone a bimbo, and it’s “bye-bye”.

      Yes, I did see where Trump is complaining about Fox, or more specifically those on Fox who are trying to actually be reporters and not boot-lickers.

      And yes, Coulter and Ingraham, along with Tucker Carlson, may be the most despicable “journalists” on the airwaves today. I can only say that I’m glad I don’t have to go to bed with their consciences at night, nor wake up and look them in the mirror in the morning.

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  11. I would ask the Twitter censor what word was a problem, and if it is Bimbo as I suspect, ask if it would have been okay to call her a small b bimbo. But no matter what, I would want to know the target’s definitions of bimbo/Bimbo, and Twitter’s definitions of Bimbo/bimbo. Is there any correlation to what you meant by Bimbo? I suspect the problem is in the definitions. If it is a different word than bimbo, still the same deal, check everyone’s definitions. I’m betting the bimbo’s definitions are pretty broad, and extremely sensitive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I think my addition of ‘bimbo’ is what got me in trouble. To me, ‘bimbo’ is simply ‘airhead’ … brainless twit. I don’t think Twitter wants to converse with me any more. It’s either take down the tweet, or go away. I’m still debating.

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      • Probably, because Twitter deems direct name calling as a personal attack intended to harass. Others use vulgarity, but chances are they are never reported. On average, I have around 22 followers shadow banned a week on Twitter.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I always figure that it isn’t really name-calling if it is a statement of fact, but then that’s subjective, so not worth the hassle. I imagine it will happen again, and in truth it’s surprising, considering some of the tweets I’ve made in response to Trump’s tweets, that it didn’t happen sooner. Hope you’re doing well? Hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

  12. WordPress may have its faults, but at least it doesn’t lock you out for calling “stupid, bigoted” people stupid and bigoted. If anyone should be locked out, it’s President Donald Tweet, who violates Twitter’s rules practically every day with his virulent attacks on anyone he chooses.
    It seems that in Twitterland, as in our land of the free and home of the brave, the proclamation/farce that no one is above the rules/law doesn’t apply if your name is Coulter or Trump.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Far be it from me to suggest that you’re in the wrong and Twitter right but I think if you offered to amend it to read person instead of woman, you may be within their rules since you aren’t having a go at her gender. That should suit your purposes as it doesn’t actually change the insult.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

      • Actually, I think of ‘Bimbo’ as either gender, and when I use it, I mean only ‘airhead’. But, you are correct that Twitter is not giving me an opportunity to suggest alternate phrasing … it’s either get rid of it, or we’ll get rid of you. I haven’t yet decided. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

            • Not at all. People see tweets only in the first few scroll through of a timeline. They generally don’t bother with anything more than a day old. It’s a pity that you didn’t look at the statistics on the Tweet to see who potentially saw it… (you have to open the tweet, then look on the statistics bar (think it is at bottom left of your tweet. It will say the number of social interaction viewers – meaning, it actually hit their eyes – if not their brain).

              Having to delete it, means that you can go back and do stuff.

              I wish they would put an UN-like button on Twitter. It would be interesting to see how many of those, that Trump got! 😉🤣🤣🤣

              Liked by 2 people

              • Yes, I suppose you’re right. I will have other opportunities, but not if I allow my voice to be stifled. So, Ms. Coulter may have won the battle, but the war is as yet undecided. Filosofa will endure! 😉
                Cwtch

                Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, no, you are a wise man and would never suggest that Twitter is right where I am wrong. 😉 However, in this instance I don’t see it as a matter of whether my comment was right or wrong, but rather that a) it was true, and b) it was my right to express that opinion. But, since they are the big boys with the power and the money, and I am a lowly peon with neither, I will have no choice but to either bow to their will, notably under duress, or else quit Twitter. I’m still debating on that one. 🤔
      Cwtch

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  14. Wow! I cannot say that I condone any name calling anywhere, anytime. That said, though, it is unbelievable that Twitter has terminated your account for those reasons especially considering they have apparently accepted what some people (including your President) have said on the same platform. It is so sad to see anyone degraded publicly, particularly for gender or gender identification. I totally agree with the rationale behind your comments.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I typically try not to lower myself to name-calling, preferring an intellectual, fact-based argument, but sometimes there is nothing quite like calling a spade a spade. Or as my friend Mary from the UK likes to say, “calling a spade a bloody shovel!” And you’re right … Trump and many others have said much worse, but … I guess I don’t have the clout, the power they have. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This is what Mt 19 yr old grandson and I talked about on the Fourth. He thinks putting on stuff like this won’t change anything, so why do it. I lost the argument trying to point out his hard working job supports people like this. He is too young now of course to realize the ramifications of not speaking up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s odd, for it’s usually the younger generation that lean more toward activism. Sigh. Yes, we don’t learn from the lessons of history, only from personal experience, and I’m afraid the people of this nation are going to soon get one heck of a ‘personal experience’ lesson.

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    • Thanks, my friend!!! I am rather wearing it like a badge of honour! So … I can start anew using my other email address? But, I would have to re-build my list of followers, right? Hmmmm …

      Like

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