Jared Taylor, the weepy-eyed founder of white supremacist site American Renaissance, is suing Twitter, according to a document filed to the Superior Court of San Francisco.
Though at one point Taylor and his despicable publication were granted Twitter’s coveted blue checkmark, both were swept up in the bans that saw several high-profile white nationalists, “race realists,” and alt-right talking heads removed from the platform. The entire purpose of the suit appears to be the reinstatement of these accounts.
To achieve this aim, he’s being represented by Marc Randazza, a lawyer with a controversial past who’s best known for currently repping Andrew Anglin, the leader-in-exile of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer. The filing he cooked up is really something to behold.
Large swaths of the 30-page lawsuit expend effort to paint Taylor – whose publication the Anti-Defamation League describes as promoting “pseudo-scientific studies that attempt to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites” — as a man of good character, though there isn’t much to work with. It includes a partial quote from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the latter half of which we’ve added and emphasised:
In his personal bearing and tone, Jared Taylor projects himself as a courtly presenter of ideas that most would describe as crudely white supremacist – a kind of modern-day version of the refined but racist colonialist of old.
The filing also laughably notes that Taylor, “is well known […] for taking a positive attitude toward Jews.”
Legally, Taylor and Randazza’s argument hinges on the Unruh Civil Rights Act, an anti-discrimination law directed at businesses in the state of California, where Twitter operates. As the BBC remarks, Unruh has never been applied to the internet.
While unlikely to win him the case, Unruh is slowly becoming a rallying cry for those removed from platforms for promoting pseudoscience, conspiracies, or harassment. Not long after Taylor announced his suit, men’s rights huckster turned Trump cheerleader Mike Cernovich claimed he would sue publishing platform Medium. His account had been banned after a Terms of Service change aimed at reducing misinformation. His justification? Unruh.
To suggest the purpose of Taylor’s suit is to win ignores a time-honored history among right-wing internet-reliant bigots of threatening to or engaging in frivolous legal proceedings to bolster their image. Who can forget disgraced former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’s ridiculous legal battle against Simon and Schuster – a suit he quietly dropped earlier this week? Or now-irrelevant troll Chuck Johnson, who also sued Twitter for his ban (using Unruh as justification as well)? As Wired gleaned earlier this year: “The goal of Johnson’s suit appears primarily to convince the court of public opinion, rather than an actual court.”
A lawsuit – even an unwinnable one – is just smart marketing when you’re in the race outrage business. To that end, Mr. Taylor is currently accepting donations to fund his case.
“We won’t have a comment on the lawsuit specifically,” a Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo.