Marjorie Taylor Greene, an anti-trans bigot and congresswoman from Georgia, sent a hateful tweet on Monday, using the deadname of U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, Rachel Levine, and referring to gender-affirming surgery using a derogatory phrase. And while Twitter has affixed a warning on the tweet saying that it violated the social media company’s rules, the tweet is going to remain on the site.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about hateful conduct. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” the tweet now reads.
Twitter did not immediately respond to questions emailed overnight asking for more specifics about the decision to leave the tweet in place. The company previously suspended the Babylon Bee for deadnaming Levine and calling her “man of the year.”
Greene, who’s perhaps best known for spreading a conspiracy theory that wildfires are getting worse because of Jewish space lasers, tweeted a video of Levine, a four star admiral, who was on MSNBC recently talking about the judicial ruling that halted many civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans in schools and workplaces last week.
“We really want to base our treatment to affirm and to support and empower these youth, not to limit their participation in activities… sports, and even their ability to get gender affirmation treatment in their state,” Levin said in the clip shared by Greene.
Obviously it’s possible to understand why Twitter may want to keep hateful content from politicians up on the site, if only in the name of government transparency. It’s important to know where your elected officials stand on issues, even if they’re hateful, so that people can see those hateful views for themselves and, hopefully, decide not to support that candidate in the next election.
But that perspective also needs to be weighed against the rights of Twitter users to feel like the platform they’re using isn’t a cesspool of the most extreme far-right nutjobs on the planet. We’ve seen what that looks like in the form of Gab, and it’s not pretty. No reasonable person wants to spend time on that site — a disgusting digital landfill of racism, Holocaust denial, and misogyny.
And there’s also just the principle of consistently enforcing the rules. President Donald Trump spouted incredibly hateful and damaging things on Twitter before he was permanently banned from the platform. Trump was banned for breaking Twitter’s rules, despite the fact that all of his tweets were obviously newsworthy merely because he was the most powerful person in the world. And it’s not clear why some tweets would get you banned from the platform while others would merely get slapped with a warning label.
Of course, some people might argue that Trump was banned for trying to incite an insurrection that would overthrow the government. But if that’s the standard, I’ve got some bad news about Marjorie Taylor Greene. In fact, really bad news.