Media Research Center President Brent Bozell and John-Henry Westen, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews, co-authored an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Thursday. Bozell and Westen called on Twitter to reverse a decision to deactivate the account of LifeSiteNews over a tweet about a controversial transgender activist.
Their full letter can be found below:
Dear Mr. Dorsey,
We are writing to you today to appeal a decision made by Twitter to deactivate the account of LifeSiteNews, a member of the Media Research Center’s (MRC) Free Speech Alliance (FSA).
The tweet that prompted the deactivation was in reference to an article about Jonathan “Jessica” Yaniv. Yaniv is a controversial transgender activist who recently complained that gynecologists wouldn’t see Yaniv as a patient. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled against Yaniv in a complaint filed against multiple female beauticians who refused to wax Yaniv’s male genitalia. But it’s more complicated than that.
Yaniv has reportedly been arrested for attacking Canadian journalist Keenan Bexte outside of court. As the Washington Examiner pointed out in a January 23 piece, Yaniv could face five years in prison for attacking Bexte. Bexte relayed to the Examiner that "Yaniv has been ordered to cease all contact with me, both directly and indirectly.’ ‘I can’t wait for the day when Yaniv is put away for the long haul. (Yaniv) is dangerous and unpredictable.’"
Twitter has deactivated LifeSiteNews’s account, claiming it violated its rules but according to LifeSiteNews, Twitter didn’t specify which rules had been violated. Regardless, we maintain this tweet was perfectly legitimate and appropriate and the LifeSiteNews account should not have been deactivated as a result. The LifeSiteNews article merely reported on the facts of a potentially dangerous transgender activist who has been arrested for assault and who has also been found guilty of sexual harassment.
LifeSiteNews attempted to work with Twitter, but the process led nowhere. When MRC attempted to assist LifeSiteNews in the appeals process, MRC was told by the D.C. Twitter representative that LifeSiteNews would need a ticket. However, despite LifeSiteNews’s repeated attempts, no ticket was provided to them. That gives the strong and disturbing impression that Twitter is not a neutral or objective platform.
There is a bigger problem. While Twitter is deactivating the accounts of organizations that tell the truth about potentially dangerous sex offenders such as Yaniv, Twitter is simultaneously and knowingly allowing other entities that are engaging in illegal behavior, such as human sex trafficking to stay on the platform. This may fly directly in the face of FOSTA-SESTA which prohibits such activity.
We are also sending a copy of this letter to Attorney General William Barr as well as the House Judiciary and Senate Judiciary committees so they are aware of it as a part of their ongoing investigations. We have had to take this step because our 67-member coalition, representing tens of millions of conservative Americans, was unable to get the attention and support of your Washington representatives.
The Media Research Center has a reputation for working with social media companies in a constructive manner to address concerns about tech censorship. It is our hope that we can do the same with Twitter, but we have been frustrated in our efforts to date.
L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief