Jesse Kelly, a conservative talk-show host, Iraq War vet, and two-time failed Congressional candidate, has been permanently banned from Twitter with no explanation, the Hill is reporting. The move has outraged conservatives who say the social media platform is censoring conservative users.
Late Sunday night, news began circulating on Twitter among Kelly’s fans that he had been banned, with users sharing screenshots of messages he had received from the platform announcing his ban.
“@JesseKellyDC just shared this with me. He’s permanently banned with no explanation. He broke no rules. This madness has to stop.”
The Hill writer Joe Concha notes that, by all appearances anyway, Kelly’s ban seems to have come out of nowhere, with no warning issued to Kelly. Further, alleges Concha, Kelly wasn’t given the original escalation of punishments – such as warnings and an increasingly-long series of lockouts from the platform – but instead was banned with extreme prejudice. And most importantly, says Concha, Kelly wasn’t told what rule he had specifically broken that got him banned.
In fact, Reason writer Robby Soave writes that it could have been a mistake or a part of a concerted effort by Kelly’s opponents to flood Twitter with false accusations of rule-breaking, sparking Twitter’s algorithms to automatically shut down Kelly’s account.
“The decision to ban him could have been the result of baseless complaints, or even an error on Twitter’s part. Kelly told other conservative writers that he was left completely in the dark.”
It's easy to defend free speech for people you think are wonderful. It's necessary to defend it for people you think are awful. Thus I'm concerned about Twitter's decision to permanently ban Jesse Kelly without explanation. https://t.co/wrXayhjgs1
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) November 26, 2018
Over on the Federalist, Kelly himself says that his banning is tantamount to censorship.
“The American spirit of free speech has been replaced by people who want uncomfortable speech censored. Nowhere is this more apparent than the social media world.”
Kelly, 37, is a Marine Corps combat veteran and, as he says on his website, “professional troublemaker.” He twice ran for Congress in Arizona, in 2010 and 2012, and lost both times. He currently hosts a radio show “The Jesse Kelly Show” on a Houston radio station.
He is not the first conservative to have been banned from Twitter, nor is he the most prominent. In September, as NPR News reported at the time, far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was banned from Twitter, sparking ongoing complaints that the social media giant was attempting to silence conservative voices. In fact, at the time Kelly saw the writing on the wall, writing that he – or any conservative user – could be next.
“They could pick [Alex Jones] off as a test run. Next they’re coming for you.”
As of this writing, Twitter is refusing to comment on Kelly’s banning, citing privacy issues.