jim stewartson

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Controversial QAnon researcher suspended from Twitter over Joe Rogan ‘gimp’ comment

Jim Stewartson has since been reinstated.

 

Claire Goforth

Tech

Published Dec 2, 2021   Updated Dec 2, 2021, 12:27 pm CST

Earlier this week, Twitter suspended Jim Stewartson, an outspoken critic of QAnon, disinformation, and far-right extremism.

Outraged, his followers rapidly launched a campaign to reinstate his account. A little over a day later, Stewartson’s account was restored.

After his account was locked, Stewartson released a statement claiming that Twitter had permanently suspended him “for calling Joe Rogan ‘Steve Bannon’s gimp’ in a thread exposing Rogan for promoting vile, misogynistic neo-Nazi propaganda.”

He wrote that the company said he’d violated its policies against hateful conduct.

Stewartson complained that Twitter hasn’t suspended Rogan or others who arguably violate its policies. He pointed to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeting an anime video of him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and right-wing provocateur Jack Posobiec‘s “Nazi signaling” as examples of when Twitter failed to act.

“Twitter’s reporting system was gamed by trolls who are upset that I was speaking out about Joe Rogan. This was not authentic reporting. It was not ‘hateful,'” he wrote.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment sent Thursday morning.

Via direct message, Stewartson told the Daily Dot that he used the term “gimp” as a reference to Pulp Fiction and that some people interpreted it as a slur against disabled people, which was not his intention.

“I would never intentionally make an ableist comment and I apologize if anyone took it that way,” he said.

Stewartson believes he was targeted. If so, he wouldn’t be the first. Mass reporting campaigns have become more commonplace in recent years. Stewartson is an undeniably polarizing figure, even among some with whom he’s arguably ideologically aligned. His biting style and mercilessness have earned him thousands of fans—and plenty of detractors who might like to see him banished from Twitter. He has been known to send his followers after prominent QAnon researchers simply because he disagrees with them.

In his statement, he suggested that his sympathizers let Twitter know they wanted his account restored.

It worked.

Stewartson’s followers rallied to his cause. They used #FreeJimStewartson and tagged Twitter and other large accounts in their pleas to get him reinstated.

“Someone got Jim Stewartson suspended because they didn’t like the truth he told,” tweeted one. “We need to ask Twitter Support to reinstate him.”

One of his followers even reportedly put the hashtag on a billboard.

“I have access to a large-scale digital sign. Doing what I can to raise awareness,” @nickmortensen tweeted, along with a picture of the sign.

Meanwhile, Stewartson appealed his suspension. After what he says were four appeals and scores of tweets with #FreeJimStewartson, several that were retweeted hundreds of times, Twitter relented.

Upon his return to the platform, Stewartson tweeted a screenshot of his purported email from Twitter informing him that his account was unsuspended because it “does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter rules.”

Both he and his followers were elated. He says 30 hours passed between his suspension and reinstatement.

“I’m fortunate and grateful that my followers spoke out about it,” he told the Daily Dot. “Many other people don’t have that privilege and lose their accounts from this.”

He believes that the saga demonstrates that Twitter has issues effectively and equitably enforcing its rules.

“Twitter’s reporting system is constantly weaponized by bad actors and that’s what happened in my case,” he said, adding, “Twitter needs to do better at figuring out what reporting is authentic and what is not.”

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*First Published: Dec 2, 2021, 11:48 am CST