We have been discussing the expanding censorship on Twitter and social media. The latest example involves the story of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37, and her purchase of a $1.4 million home in a secluded area of Los Angeles whose population is reputedly less than 2% black. The professed Marxist received considerable criticism for the purchase, including from Jason Whitlock, an African-America sports critic who has also been a critic of BLM. When Whitlock called out Khan-Cullors, Twitter promptly censored the tweet — leaving a notice that it was “no longer available.”
Last week, various cites like dirt.com reported, “A secluded mini-compound tucked into L.A.’s rustic and semi-remote Topanga Canyon was recently sold for a tad more than $1.4 million to a corporate entity that public records show is controlled by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37-year-old social justice visionary and co-founder of the galvanizing and, for some, controversial Black Lives Matter movement.”
It produced a firestorm of critics who noted that Cullors has long insisted that she and her BLM co-founder “are trained Marxists. We are super versed on, sort of, ideological theories.” Critics like Nick Arama of RedState pointed out: “[I]t’s interesting to note that the demographics of the area are only about 1.4% black people there. So not exactly living up to her creed there.”
Jason Whitlock posted a link to a story but was promptly censored by Twitter.
The controversy is illustrative of the age of Internet censors. Tweets, and in some cases Twitter accounts, vanish without explanation. Twitter is notorious for not responding to media inquiries over such censorship and even less forthcoming on the decisionmaking process behind such decisions.
If Whitlock was expressing his contempt for the purchase, it is core political speech.
Even the head of New York City’s Black Lives Matter chapter is calling for an independent investigation into the organization’s finances in the wake of the controversy. This controversy follows an Atlanta-based figure being criminally charged with fraud. According to the Justice Department, Sir Maejor Page, or Tyree Conyers-Page is accused of using a Facebook page called “Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta.”
The New York Post and other publications have reported that Cullors is eyeing expensive properties in other locations, including the Bahamas. However, it is not clear if this money came from BLM which has reportedly raised almost $100 million in donations from corporations and other sources. Indeed, Cullors seems to have ample sources of funds. She is married to Janaya Khan, a leader of BLM in Toronto, and published a best selling memoir of her life and then a follow up book. She also signed a lucrative deal with Warner Bros to develop and produce original programming across all platforms, including broadcast, cable and streaming. She has also been featured in various magazines like her recent collaboration with Jane Fonda.
The issue for me is not the house or claimed hypocrisy. It is the censorship of Twitter of such criticism. Cullors is a public figure who is subject to public scrutiny and commentary. Twitter is rife with a such criticism over the lifestyle choices of figures on the right ranging from Donald Trump Jr. to Rand Paul. That is an unfortunate aspect of being in a high visibility position. I would be equally concerned if criticism of Trump Jr.’s big game hunting exploits or Giuliani’s lavish tastes were censored.
Whitlock apparently is a vocal critic of BLM which he has denounced as a scam and even compared to the KKK. One does not have to agree with such statements to support his right to speak freely without corporate censorship.
Indeed, the greatest irony may not be the home purchase but the corporate support. A professed Marxist, Cullors has not only been paid handsomely by corporations like Warner but is being actively protected by corporations like Twitter. When it comes to free speech, I support them Cullors and Whitlock. The question is whether both have an equal opportunity to speak on platforms like Twitter.