UTK Law Professor and USA Today Columnist Glenn Reynolds was suspended from Twitter Thursday morning for tweeting: “Run them down,” in reference to Black Lives Matters supporters surrounding and intimidating drivers on I-277.
Twitter has not released the official reason of Reynolds’s suspension, but the professor believes that it has to do with his tweet, stating in response to the suspension:
“Can’t imagine why they’d do that, except that it seems to be happening to a lot of people for no obvious reason. It’s as if, despite assurances to the contrary, Twitter is out to silence voices it disagrees with or something.”
Several have critiqued Reynolds as inciting violence against the protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reynolds responds:
“I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years.
But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would.”
“Run them down” perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.
“I don’t even know that this is why I was suspended, as I’ve heard nothing from Twitter at all. They tell users and investors that they don’t censor, but they seem awfully quick to suspend people on one side of the debate and, as people over at Twitchy note, awfully tolerant of outright threats on the other.”
Twitter eventually unsuspended his account on the condition that he delete the tweet.
Reynolds is also a columnist for USA Today which has suspended his column for a month following his tweet.
The University of Tennessee in reaction to the social media post is “investigating” Reynolds. The UTK law school dean, Melanie Wilson, said,
“Professor Reynolds’ comments do not reflect my views and opinions, nor do they reflect the values of the college and university.
University administrators, college faculty, and I are investigating this matter.”
Reynolds’s account, @Instapundant, continues to serve as a conservative voice on twitter, advocating for free speech and less censorship. Twitter has recently come under fire for permanently suspending Milo Yiannopoulos’s account, @Nero, for antagonizing Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.
Reynolds has deleted the tweet, but remains vocally against the censorship enforced by the social media network. His account can be found here.