The Satanic Temple is accusing Twitter of religious discrimination for suspending accounts affiliated with the organization and for refusing to verify those accounts.
According to Boston Magazine, the saga began when Satanic Temple cofounder and spokesperson Lucien Greaves told users to report a tweet that instructed users to burn down The Satanic Temple location in Salem, Mass. Instead of Twitter suspending that user’s account, according to Greaves, Twitter instead suspended his accounts, @LucienGreaves and @SatanicPsalms. The accounts were restored when Greaves threatened to sue Twitter.
The temple’s case against Twitter does not end there. As the Boston Globe reports, Greaves is also suing Twitter because the site has not verified his accounts.
In a statement, Greaves said, “The failure of Twitter to verify both accounts, which both clearly meet Twitter’s documented standards for verification, compounded by the suspension of the accounts clearly demonstrates a pattern of hostile discriminatory behavior engaged in by Twitter against The Satanic Temple. It reveals the biased human agency behind a facade of neutral and evenly enforced standards.”
These actions have led The Satanic Temple to file a complaint against Twitter with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
The Satanic Temple’s complaint against Twitter states the site “claims to be welcoming to people of all religions; it may welcome some, but it detests The Satanic Temple.”
Marc J. Randazza, who is representing The Satanic Temple, also issued a statement calling Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council “Orwellian-named.”
“When Twitter installed its Orwellian-named ‘Trust and Safety Council,’ free speech advocates sensed immediately that this would become a censorship board. However, none of us could have predicted exactly how discriminatory and arbitrary Twitter would be,” Randazza said. “Twitter has decided who it disfavors, politically, ethnically, and religiously, and they get significantly less free expression rights on Twitter than its favored groups. Enough is enough. Satanists are equal to any other religious adherents under the law, and deserve to be treated equally. If Twitter disagrees, then it should be prepared to explain why its ‘Trust and Safety Council’ believes that it should favor one religion over another – consistent with the Civil Rights laws.”
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination told Boston Magazine it is “actively investigating” the complaint by The Satanic Temple.