Twitter Suspends Talib Kweli’s Account Following War Of Words With Texas Lawyer
Social media platform Twitter suspended the account of Talib Kweli this week after it claimed the Black Star and Reflection Eternal MC incited harassment towards a Texas-based lawyer after he posted the attorney’s business address to his more than one million followers online.
In an interview with Uproxx, Kweli said that tweets exchanged between the two included the lawyer, Jason Lee Van Dyke, calling the New York rapper “an autistic f*cker” and threatening others with lynching and other acts of violence.
Both Van Dyke and Kweli were blocked by the social media platform. At this time (November 10), Kweli’s Twitter account is again up and running, but Kweli told Uproxx that he would not remove the tweet.
Last month, in another controversial move, Twitter locked the account of actress Rose McGowan who has led the campaign to make public the repeated sexual harassment by Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein after she posted a private phone number.
For Kweli, the difference between the two cases lies in the fact that Van Dyke’s address was already in the public domain. “If this was NBC, American Airlines, Hilton Hotels…if one of the companies was calling people ni**ers or calling people autistic f*ckers or threatening people with gun violence, Twitter shouldn’t have an issue posting that company’s address or encouraging people to demand accountability from them,” he told Uproxx editor, Philip Cosores. “That’s why I posted that man’s information. Him being suspended from Twitter only removes Twitter from the situation. After he’s suspended from Twitter, he’s still out there operating as a lawyer, and I can’t just let that happen.”
Kweli continued, “What Twitter is doing by protecting this guy from accountability is saying that he might be a very fine person, too. It’s the same thing that Donald Trump did when he said there are very fine people on both sides. [Van Dyke] should not be able to hide.”
The MC also stated that the lawyer should be, if not already, reported to the bar:
Additionally, Kweli released a statement outlining his position:
“Twitter saw fit to suspend him from Twitter but they think my posting of his public business address is to incite harassment. This essentially means they only care about their culpability, but they don’t care about the community this ‘lawyer’ serves in real life. A lawyer who does this should have his very public contact info shared by everyone so that we as a community can demand accountability.
If someone is claiming to be a defense attorney and they are making extremely disparaging remarks, unprompted, to and about women, Black people, anti-fascists, gay people on top of threatening to kill these people, shouldn’t the community he serves be able to have a place to call or an address to visit to express their grievances? If that is not the time to tell someone to contact a business, when is?
Getting back on Twitter is not my concern. Allowing a major corporation to say I harassed someone who tweeted me out of the blue making wild racist threats at me and those who support me is.
There is a community outside of Twitter that the lawyer is still a threat to. How can you not care about that community?”
Talib Kweli is a noted presence on social media, often engaging directly with his followers (and opponents) in spirited (and at times blunt) debate about subjects linked to racism and US politics. Today, his supporters were maintaining support for Kweli and what they saw to be the double standards and hypocrisy of Twitter.
Kweli is releasing his eighth solo album Radio Silence on November 17. That independent LP reunites Kweli with Jay Electronica and Anderson .Paak, as well as features a range of guests, from Waka Flocka Flame, to Freestyle Fellowship’s Myka 9 to Rick Ross. Earlier this year, the Brooklyn, New Yorker teamed with LOX member Styles P to release The Seven EP.