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Twitter on Thursday permanently banned a Teen Vogue journalist for making a joke about TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists).
Danielle Corcione says they were shocked when they received an email on June 25 saying their Twitter account had been suspended. The email said they had violated the rules by “posting violent threats.” The offending tweet said, “If any TERFs like or retweet this, I’m shoving my foot up your ass.”
Corcione told the Daily Dot that their tweet was a reply to another joke they had made earlier. “The original tweet I tweeted was ‘my pronouns are yeehaw,’ which is not for real, it’s from a meme. It’s goofy, it’s silly. I replied to my own tweet because it was getting traction,” they said. “I saw a few cis people retweeting it, and I was like okay, I am not about to make a mockery of my community. This isn’t mocking pronouns.”
Corcione said they didn’t think twice about their follow-up joke. “I’m shoving my foot up your ass is an expression from Red Forman on That ’70s Show,” they said, laughing. “That’s where I got it from. It’s a non-direct, non-threat.”
Transgender activists and artists often face a backlash from TERFs and subsequent censorship of their work. In June, a trans woman had a design on Teespring that simply said “FUCK TERFS” removed for “hate speech.” The Degenderettes Antifa Art exhibit at the San Francisco Public Library in May removed a piece after TERFs complained it was promoting violence against women—even though it was made by a woman.
Corcione says they knew people were being banned for speaking out or even making jokes about hate groups. “I knew this was happening to other people,” they said, “but I thought they can’t do that to me because I’m a journalist. But they did, and they can.”
After Corcione was banned, other journalists spoke out on Twitter, drawing comparisons between what Corcione was banned for and what others get away with.
Ana Valens is a contributor to the Daily Dot.
This is terrible. @TeenVogue's Danielle Corcione was permabanned from Twitter for condemning TERFs; Twitter said their tweet was "threatening and/or promoting violence." This is so fucked up. TERFs literally espouse violent rhetoric daily, bans like this just embolden them. pic.twitter.com/gDp6CsCwRO— Ana (@SpaceDoctorPhD) July 5, 2018
The very very great Danielle Corcione—who writes for @TeenVogue @BigBudsMag and more—was kicked off Twitter permanently for condemning TERFs. Meanwhile there are actual Nazis making death threats who are allowed to be here @jack @Twitter @TwitterSupport pic.twitter.com/XrVv3TkvAm— Isabella Gomez (@Isabellephant) July 6, 2018
Corcione is very aware of this disparity in punishment on the platform. “There’s literal Nazis on Twitter. David Duke, Richard Spencer—those people tweet without fucking consequence, and they are active inciters of violence,” they said. “What has happened to me is definitely indicative of how Twitter operates.”
Twitter rejected Corcione’s appeal to restore their account, leaving them permanently banned from the platform.
Update 11:30am CT, July 11: Corcione says their account was reinstated the night of July 6, likely in part due to the news coverage and viral tweets. However, as of July 10, their account has been locked again, this time for violating the rules against “hateful content.” The hateful content is the same tweet they were banned for previously.
Twitter Support says Corcione can have their account unlocked if they delete the tweet, but Corcione is refusing, on the grounds that it does not actually violate their rules.
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.