A prominent black sports journalist barred from Twitter for the ‘crime’ of discussing the $1.4 million house bought by a Black Lives Matter co-founder slammed the company for trying to silence legitimate debate.
Jason Whitlock, 53, told DailyMail.com on Monday that Twitter was ‘going too far’ by blocking him from posting to his account, which has nearly 450,000 followers.
The censorship by Twitter comes as social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have increasingly ‘de-platformed’ figures who stray too far from opinions they consider acceptable.
‘BLM is one of Big Tech’s sacred cows,’ Whitlock told DailyMail.com ‘I’ve been harping on the fraudulence and the financial grift of BLM for years.’
‘I think Twitter has been looking for an excuse to de-platform me,’ he said.
BLM raised $90 million last year, the AP has reported, but it’s unclear how leaders are paid – if they are paid – because the organization’s finances are opaque, a fact that has sparked criticism, even among local BLM chapters.
Now, Whitlock says, Twitter is trying to silence him for asking questions about BLM’s finances.
He was silenced just as it emerged that BLM co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a self-professed ‘trained Marxist’, had purchased the $1.4 million house in LA. We reported that Cullors had also bought two other LA homes in recent years and paid $415,000 for a 3.2 acre property in Georgia.
When Whitlock tweeted his response to the news of Cullors’s purchase, he included a link to the popular celebrity real estate website The Dirt, which first reported the details of the property.
Cullors, 37, raised eyebrows with her new three bedroom, three bathroom house in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles – a largely white district.
In her new zip code, 88 per cent of residents are white and 1.8 per cent black, according to the census.
Whitlock explained: ‘Twitter locked my account around 4pm Friday,’ confirming his account was still blocked.
‘They said my account was locked because I revealed personal information about someone.
‘They said I needed to remove the tweet that linked the dirt.com story about Cullors buying a house in Topanga.’
There was no explanation of how linking to the Dirt.com story revealed personal information as neither the story, nor Whitlock’s tweet, listed an address – and the purchase also was discussed widely elsewhere on Twitter and reported throughout the press.
Twitter didn’t respond the requests for comment.
Whitlock tweeted on Friday, in response to a critic of his original tweet: ‘She had a lot of options on where to live. She chose one of the whitest places in California. She’ll have her pick of white cops and white people to complain about. That’s a choice, bro.’
On Monday, Whitlock further told a YouTube channel: ‘I’m still in Twitter jail, because I won’t post bail.’
He added: ‘I won’t post bail. I’m not sure if I’m going to post bail,’ he said, referring to deleting his tweet, which had been removed from view by Twitter.
He insisted he did nothing wrong.
‘I find it hypocritical,’ he said, of her decision to live in a largely white neighbourhood. ‘There is so much hypocrisy. She’s acting like a capitalist.
‘They want you to remove the tweet to start your 12-hour sentence. Why should I remove the tweet? They have already removed it. I sat back and said I’m going to do nothing and see where this story goes.
‘I’m going to play Nelson Mandela in the Twitter jail,’ he said of the former South African leader.
He pointed out that Twitter’s move had only served to shine a spotlight on the story, adding it ‘has gone exactly how I wanted it to go’.
Whitlock said BLM founders like Cullors were ‘making millions of dollars off the backs of these dead black men who they wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire and alive.’
The company’s action in blocking Whitlock has sparked yet more concern about the Twitter’s powers of censorship.
The Silicon Valley giant’s ability to control the discussion was highlighted by its January decision to block Donald Trump, fearing that his inflammatory tweets could spark civil unrest. Since then his allies including Steve Bannon have also been permanently blocked by the site.
Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Twitter, in October was forced to apologize for blocking a news story featuring allegations about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and his business dealings.
Twitter chose to restrict distribution of the story, citing its hacked material policy, which doesn’t ‘permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets.’
Dorsey admitted that in that situation, the company overstepped the mark.
‘Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,’ Dorsey tweeted.
Cullors is yet to respond to request for comment.