- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2022

Twitter’s no-tolerance policy on tweets describing Rachel Levine as a man is quickly thinning the herd of leading conservative accounts.

Fox News said Thursday that host Tucker Carlson has no plans to delete a recent post identifying the transgender Biden administration official as male, meaning that his @TuckerCarlson account with 5.3 million followers will remain locked under Twitter’s policy against “hateful conduct.”

“We can confirm to the Washington Times that Tucker is not planning to delete anything,” said a Fox spokesperson in an email.

In doing so, Mr. Carlson joined the Babylon Bee and Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk in putting at risk their popular right-tilting accounts by drawing a line in the sand on the rule against referring to transgender individuals by their biological sex.

Mr. Carlson had posted screenshots Tuesday of the Babylon Bee and Kirk tweets that landed them in Twitter jail. Mr. Kirk’s tweet beganRichard Levine spent 54 years of his life as a man,” while the Bee’s satirical post declared Dr. Levine its “Man of the Year.”

Dr. Levine, a Health and Human Services assistant secretary, reportedly transitioned from male to female in 2011 at age 53.

“We dared to highlight two accounts that Twitter has banned, from Charlie Kirk and the Babylon Bee. There’s nothing hateful about either one,” said Mr. Carlson on his Wednesday night show.

He said that both tweets “merely noted that biological sex is fixed at birth. This has been universally acknowledged by homo sapiens for at least 300,000 years. So it was a factual statement, but on Twitter, as in our public life, truth is no defense.”

Mr. Kirk and the Babylon Bee have refused to delete their Levine tweets. Each of the accounts has more than 1 million followers.

Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon said that Twitter sent him the following message denying the Bee’s appeal: “Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision.”

Even so, he said Thursday that the Bee isn’t budging.

“This isn’t about protecting individuals from targeted hatred or harassment. It’s about shielding their false gender ideology from criticism, even criticism done in jest,” Mr. Dillon told The Washington Times. “We’re disappointed by their rejection of our appeal, but we aren’t surprised by it. And it doesn’t change our position. They can delete our joke if they want. They have that power. But we’re not bending the knee and doing it for them.”

Twitter’s policy against “hateful conduct” bans “repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category.”

“This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals,” said a Twitter spokesperson.

Also suspended was Bee editor-in-chief Kyle Mann for a tweet mocking the Twitter lockout, although he tweeted Thursday that his account had been unlocked without explanation.

Mr. Carlson said on Wednesday’s show that Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal “has said plainly he does not believe in free speech,” but “now controls the single most important forum for America’s political conversation.”

The host cited a November 2020 interview with the MIT Technology Review in which Mr. Agrawal said: “Our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment, but our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation.”

Others whose accounts have been frozen or flagged by Twitter for referring to Dr. Levine as a man include Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton; Catholic World Report; PJ Media, and the Daily Citizen, a Christian news outlet run by Focus on the Family.

Those running afoul of Twitter’s policy “will be required to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours in read-only mode before regaining full access to their account,” said the spokesperson.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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