David Simon, known for a whole bunch of things but most famously as the guy who created The Wire, says he’s been locked out of his Twitter account by Twitter. While his account, @AoDespair, remains visible on the platform, Simon is in limbo because he is “indifferent to removing the tweets they insist are violative of their rules.” Unless he agrees to do that, Twitter won’t let him back into his account to tweet new content. The tweets in question involved Simon telling a Trump supporter that they “should die of a slow moving veneral rash that settles in your lying throat,” EW reports. (This tweet, however, appears to have been deleted.) In another, he told a different Twitter user to “die of boils.”
Simon published a short post — the post began with a short tribute to Anthony Bourdain — detailing his feelings on his website:
Suffice to say that while you can arrive on Twitter and disseminate the untethered and anti-human opinion that mothers who have their children kidnapped and held incommunicado from them at the American border are criminals — and both mother and child deserve that fate — or that 14-year-old boys who survive the Holocaust are guilty of betraying fellow Jews when there is no evidence of such, you CANNOT wish that these people should go away and die of a fulminant venereal rash. Slander is cool, brutality is acceptable. But the hyperbolic and comic hope that a just god might smite the slanderer or brutalizer with a deadly skin disorder is somehow beyond the pale.
Oh, and there was a line where Simon told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey he should also “die of boils.” (David, call me. We can chat about a few other dermatological ailments to beef up your threat vernacular.)
A Twitter spokesperson provided the following statement:
We cannot comment on specific accounts for privacy and security reasons, but it’s against the Twitter Rules to engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.
Simon’s lockout makes for an interesting comparison to Dorsey’s recent apology to far-right activist Candace Owens, who was mad over being labeled as “far-right” in a Twitter moment and decided to call out Twitter. Dorsey called the incident a “clear break” in Twitter’s curation model and said his team would fix it for the future. Meaning, I guess, in future far-right types, uh, won’t be identified as such? Earlier this year, Twitter unverified a number of alt-right and white-supremacist accounts, including Jason Kessler, the white supremacist who organized the rally in Charlottesville, Laura Loomer, and Richard Spencer. Around the same time, the platform banned Tim Gionet, a.k.a. Baked Alaska. The logic here, and the enforcement of Twitter’s policies regarding abusive behavior, seems a little all over the place. Boils for everyone!