Twitter has lifted a short ban on conservative pundit Jesse Kelly that sparked a backlash among some on the right.
The social media giant contradicted Kelly’s claim that he was told he was permanently banned from the platform, saying they always intended it to be a temporary suspension.
“The account was temporarily suspended for violating the Twitter Rules and has been reinstated. We have communicated directly with the account owner,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Kelly said earlier that he was told his account, which had nearly 80,000 followers, was permanently deactivated for “multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter rules,” according to an email from Twitter that he released publicly. He was not told what the violations were, he said.
— Ben (@BenHowe) November 26, 2018
“The truth is, I understand how sensitive Twitter is. I understand that they are run by leftists, and they’re trying to run off people on the right, so knowing that, I’m fairly careful with it,” he told The Hill.
“Especially because it was a big tool I used to promote my show, to promote things that I had written,” he said. “So I wasn’t trying to get kicked off, I was trying to be good, and I got kicked off anyway.”
“The American spirit of free speech has been replaced by people who want uncomfortable speech censored,” he wrote in an article addressing the ban. “Nowhere is this more apparent than the social media world.”
Kelly is a former Marine who served in the Iraq War and former Arizona congressional candidate who now hosts a radio show in Houston. He has made several controversial statements lately, including calling Republican Senator Jeff Flake a “coward” for delaying Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation vote.
Twitter has banned several far-right personalities recently, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, activist Laura Loomer, and the Proud Boys and their founder Gavin McInnes.
Two Republican members of Congress, Senator Ben Sasse and Senator-elect Josh Hawley, spoke out in support of Kelly.
Twitter recently banned a Marine vet & conservative pundit, Jesse Kelly, without explanation. This follows Twitter’s ban of Canadian feminist Megan Murphy for her speech. @jack told Congress Twitter doesn’t target political speech. Is that true?
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 27, 2018
Jesse Kelly can’t stand me. And I think his tribal war scalping stuff is stupid and wrong.
But that doesn’t matter much compared to the bigger picture here: The trend of de-platforming and shutting down speech is a bad precedent for our free speech society. https://t.co/V11v6uDZY3
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) November 26, 2018