Internet Troll 'Baked Alaska' Cries Milky Tears For 8 Hours After Getting Banned From Twitter
Earlier this month, Twitter faced a wave of criticism following its decision to give a blue "verified" badge to Jason Kessler, organizer of the Charlottesville Nazi Tiki Torch Rally that resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer. The site had been widely criticized for some time for verifying Nazis and white supremacists like Richard Spencer.
Although Twitter has claimed that the little blue badge is not an endorsement so much as it is meant to note that the person is who they say they are, it hasn't actually worked out that way. It's also not like you can just be a random person and get that checkmark by verifying your identity either. You have to have a certain amount of notability. When I applied for mine, for instance, I had to show that I'd written for sites that are verified on Twitter and also provide examples of my published work.
After either listening to people or just being really tired of being tagged in tweets along the lines of "Hey @jack! What is up with verifying all these Nazis?" Twitter made up new behavior guidelines for verified users, and de-verified a bunch of Nazis and other alt-right jackasses and then banned notorious troll Baked Alaska (aka: Tim "Treadstone" Gionet) from the platform. Those who had their badges stripped so far include Spencer, Kessler, and far-right "activists" Tommy Robinson, James Allsup, and noted Shakespeare-hater Laura Loomer.
Loomer compared her de-verification to the Holocaust, because yeah, sure, it's just like the Holocaust.
Baked Alaska, however, completely lost his shit and ended up ranting about how unfair it was for Twitter to ban him for over eight hours on Youtube. Eight hours! That is so many hours!
The beginning, at least, involved Mr. Alaska hanging out at an In-and-Out Burger asking random customers about how unfair it was that he had been banned for Twitter for exactly NOTHING (other than sometimes extolling the virtues of national socialism, which is, we repeat, not the good socialism).
At one point, he asked a random British dude in a car about his banning, and was told that Twitter is a private company and can do what it wants.
This interaction provided the basis for what Mr. Alaska would end up arguing, over and over again, during the eight-hour marathon: his theory that Twitter is a public utility. You know, like the post office or water, and that the government can't ban you from using the post office or from getting water in your home just because you're a white supremacist. Therefore, he claims, Twitter should not be able to ban anyone from using its platform.
However... you pay for water and gas, and your taxes fund the post office. The post office is owned, technically, by the public. Which includes everyone, including white supremacists. Twitter, conversely, is free to use and also is a private company not funded by our taxes. Just as a restaurant can post a sign saying "No shirt, no shoes, no service," a private social media company can post guidelines for behavior when using its services.
It's rather interesting that conservatives are very eager to argue that private companies ought to be able to do whatever they want when it comes to polluting our water or firing women because they use birth control (and also receive public funds while doing so!), but furious over them not giving platforms to open white supremacists who regularly "joke" about how Hitler was right.
It is also interesting that they seem to believe that Twitter is a human right, while health care is not.
At another point during this eight-hour monologue, Mr. Alaska went on a diatribe about how THE LIBERALS control all the social media and entertainment stuff, and how conservatives could totally do all of that WAY BETTER except no one will let them. Of course, there is a social media platform for the alt-right. It is called Gab! Why are they not all heading over to Gab, I wonder? Is it because if they are there, then no one on the Left is going to be paying any attention to them? Is it that they love us and don't want to leave us? Are they afraid they will be lonely? Where's that All-American rugged individualist spirit? Where are their bootstraps? Why do they need liberals to subsidize their creative endeavors?
Free speech means that the government can't throw you in jail for saying what you want. It does not mean anyone has to invite you to their party.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse