Right-wing Christian ‘satire’ website The Babylon Bee has been suspended from Twitter for misgendering White House official Rachel Levine.
Often described as the conservative version of parody outlet The Onion, The Babylon Bee dubs itself “fake news you can trust” and “your trusted source for Christian news satire”.
It drew heavy criticism for a crude tweet misgendering the assistant health secretary, Rachel Levine, after she was named “Woman of the Year” by USA Today. Its tweet linked to an article that continued to mock Levine.
Seth Dillon, The Babylon Bee‘s chief executive, said Monday (21 March) that Twitter had warned him that the site had broken its rules against “hateful conduct” and would be blocked from tweeting until the “violative tweet” is removed.
They could, of course, delete the tweet themselves. But they won’t. It’s not enough for them to just wipe it out. They want us to bend the knee and admit that we engaged in hateful conduct.
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 21, 2022
Dillon claimed the Bee was being “censored” in an opinion piece for The New York Post, one of America’s biggest tabloids.
He said the website is refusing to “succumb to their ideological madness”.
“When cultural revolutions happen, the comics and entertainers are the first to be targeted by the revolutionaries,” he said.
“We have to bend the knee, kiss the ring, bow to the towering statue of LGBTQ politics when the trumpets play, or we stay on timeout indefinitely.”
On Twitter, Dillon refused to take the tweet down. By Tuesday, however, the offending tweet had been removed. It remains unclear at the time of writing whether Twitter moderators removed the tweet or the Bee did.
Dillon later confirmed that the Bee’s editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, has also been locked out of his account for an offensive tweet about “concentration camps” and the persecution of Uyghurs by China. Not The Bee, the Bee‘s sister website, was also blocked from tweeting.
Twitter also locked the account for the Christian Post for similarly misgendering Levine in response to her USA Today title. Both come after the service censured Texan attorney general Ken Paxton for misgendering Levine.
Twitter’s hateful conduct policy prohibits users from misgendering trans people or deliberately deadnaming them as it “dehumanising [and] degrades” them.
Under its rules, users can be ordered to remove an offending tweet and “serve a period of time in read-only mode before they can tweet again”.
An account can be suspended if moderators find the account’s “primary use” is “engaging in hateful conduct as defined in this policy”.
Babylon Bee bosses say ‘comics are the first to be targeted’
While Dillon stands up for the rights of the comic community, trans folk in America face higher levels of homelessness, poverty, unemployment and are more likely to be a victim of a crime, researchers at the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, found.
While last year, at least 57 trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, many of them Black trans women, were fatally killed, the Human Rights Campaign tallied.
Seven more have been killed this year so far.
PinkNews contacted Twitter for comment.