In a story that could only happen in 2016, Politico reports that President-elect Donald Trump cut Twitter—his go-to social network—out of a meeting with major technology company executives because it refused to create a custom #CrookedHillary emoji.
Citing an anonymous source with knowledge of the emoji kerfuffle, the rift between Twitter and the Trump campaign began after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey personally intervened in a $5 million advertising buy that included emoji of bags of cash changing hands to represent #CrookedHillary, Trump’s disparaging nickname for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The controversial ad deal was first revealed in a Nov. 18 post published to Medium by Gary Coby, the Trump campaign’s director of digital advertising. Coby writes:
Twitter — or well, Dorsey — restricted us on the most unique part of our deal, the custom hashtag emojis, of which we had two.
It’s an emoji tied to a specific hashtag. When anyone uses that hashtag, the emoji is automatically added at the end.
We planned to launch both of our emojis for the first debate. One was a contrasting emoji for the popular #CrookedHillary. They were going to be featured in our promoted trend for maximum exposure.
As a result, Sean Spicer, a top Republican National Committee official who is advising the Trump transition team, allegedly advised Trump to give Dorsey the boot from his big Silicon Valley tech meeting, which included Apple‘s Tim Cook, Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos, Tesla‘s Elon Musk, and Facebook‘s Sheryl Sandberg.
Twitter was also the first company to publicly refuse to help Trump build a database of all Muslims in America. On Wednesday, Facebook joined in that refusal.
Twitter did not immediately respond to our request for comment.