On Sunday, Twitter locked the account of Babylon Bee, a satire news site, for a post the platform deems hate speech under its terms of service.
“I just received this notice that we’ve been locked out of our account for ‘hateful conduct,'” Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon wrote on Twitter.
We're told our account will be restored in 12 hours, but the countdown won't begin until we delete the tweet that violates the Twitter Rules. pic.twitter.com/85tdmrqJpU
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 20, 2022
Twitter cited its terms of service against hateful conduct. The rules state, “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
In 2018, Twitter announced that it would consider “misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals” a violation of its “hateful conduct” policy.
The tweet that initiated the locking of the account contains a graphic with Levine and the text “The Babylon Bee Man of the Year.” It carried the site’s classic satire-styled headline, “The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year Is Rachel Levine.”
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) March 16, 2022
On March 15, the site also published a satirical article which named Levine “Man of the Year.”
“The Babylon Bee has selected Rachel Levine as its first annual Man of the Year,” the article reads.
“Levine is the U.S. assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he serves proudly as the first man in that position to dress like a western cultural stereotype of a woman.”
The article continues: “Rachel’s original name is Richard Levine, but he changed it to Rachel for some strange reason a few years ago. Who cares? Who says a dude as accomplished as this can’t be named ‘Rachel’?”
The Babylon Bee published the article just two days after USA TODAY named Levine one of its “Women of the Year.”
Dillon has since posted his response to the account being locked and says he refuses to comply with the censorship requirements.
“We’re told our account will be restored in 12 hours, but the countdown won’t begin until we delete the tweet that violates the Twitter Rules,” Dillon posted.
“We’re not deleting anything. Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it.”