Twitter barred Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos Tuesday, for his blatantly hateful activity on the social media site, what The New York Times called “one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of its terms of service.”
The rightwing gay supporter of Donald Trump has orchestrated and organized a racist campaign against African American actress Leslie Jones, who stars in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. She’s borne the brunt of the racist and sexist tweets hurled at the film’s stars and director, so vicious that she quit Twitter this week after a vain attempt to report the mostly anonymous attackers.
Yiannopoulos, who attended a “gays for Donald Trump” cocktail party in Cleveland Tuesday following the announcement of his Twitter ban, called the Republican presidential nominee the most pro-gay candidate in history. The conservative editor denounced the gay rights movement for “fixating on transgender bathroom issues,” according to the Washington Post, “at the expense of combating an existential threat from Islam.”
Although it did not comment on Yiannopoulos directly, a spokesman for Twitter issued a statement Tuesday:
“People should be able to express diverse opinions and beliefs on Twitter. But no one deserves to be subjected to targeted abuse online, and our rules prohibit inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”
“We’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”
“This is the beginning of the end for Twitter,” Yiannopolulos told The Times. “Some people are going to find this perfectly acceptable,” he said. “Anyone who believes in free speech or is a conservative certainly will not.”
Following the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and again in Cleveland, he’s delivered a well-worn ominous speech about the future:
“I’ve come here to give you a warning from Europe,” Yiannopoulos has said, each time. “I’m going to Sweden. And in Sweden, which has the humiliating distinction of being the rape capital of Europe — thanks to Islamic immigration, where Islamic immigration isn’t just hurting gays, as it did in Orlando — I will be leading a gay pride march through the Muslim ghetto.”
Twitter has come under fire for years for neglecting to safeguard users from trolls, and its spokesman addressed that issue in the statement:
“We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree.”
According to The Times, Twitter announced it’s working “to prohibit additional types of abusive behavior and allow more types of reporting, with the goal of reducing the burden on the person being targeted.” Its spokesman said the company plans to say more about how it will do this in the coming weeks.