Twitter locks McConnell campaign account after posting video of protester shouting threats, profanities
Twitter has locked the account for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign after it shared a video of a protester's profanity-laced rant outside the senator's home.
A Twitter spokesperson told The Hill that the @Team_Mitch account was locked because a tweet "violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety."
McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden told The Hill that the account was locked Wednesday morning "for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell."
The McConnell campaign on Tuesday shared a video featuring protesters demonstrating outside the Kentucky senator's home. The video included Black Lives Matter Louisville leader Chanelle Helm repeatedly cursing and stating that she wished the GOP leader had "broken his little, raggedy, wrinkled-ass neck" instead of injuring his shoulder last weekend, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Helm later said, "Just stab the motherf---er in the heart" after a man made a reference to a voodoo doll. The comment quickly went viral on social media.
McConnell was believed to be at home recovering; his office said Sunday that the senator fractured his shoulder after tripping at home on his patio.
"This is a problem with the speech police in America today," Golden said in response to the account's suspension. "Twitter will allow the words of 'Massacre Mitch' to trend nationally on their platform but locks our account for posting actual threats against us. We appealed and Twitter stood by their decision, saying our account will remain locked until we delete the video."
An aide to the McConnell campaign said the account was still locked as of Wednesday evening and that Twitter had said it would remain that way until the post was deleted. The aide added that Twitter had taken the video down but that the campaign was still being asked to delete the tweet officially.
Twitter's guidelines say that users may not post content on the platform featuring violent threats, regardless of context. The company also says that any glorification of violence violates its policies.
McConnell has faced scrutiny from gun control advocates and Democratic lawmakers in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, over the weekend that left more than 30 people dead. Many Democrats have urged the GOP leader to call the Senate back into session to take up gun legislation that has been passed by the House.
Between 20 and 30 demonstrators protested outside McConnell's Kentucky home on Monday night, the news station WHAS11 reported. The protesters reportedly held signs and chanted slogans about a range of issues, including immigration reform and LGBT rights.
A spokesman for McConnell's campaign told the Courier-Journal that law enforcement had been contacted about the threats.
Helm told the Courier-Journal that she did not regret the comments she made about McConnell and that anger over her remarks had been misplaced.
"McConnell doesn’t care about people who actually do break their necks, who need insulin, who need any type of medication, because they want to stop and prevent health care for all," she said. "And that is something that every American out here wants. There’s only a few Americans who don’t want that, and those people are politicians and their cronies."