It seemed odd that filmmaker David Simon hadn’t tweeted about the death of celebrity chef and storyteller Anthony Bourdain this morning. The two had worked together on Simon’s show “Treme,” and writer Laura Lippman, Simon’s wife, had tweeted early Friday that Simon had something of a man crush on the chef.
But now, we know that the uncharacteristic silence apparently wasn’t his choice.
The former Baltimore Sun reporter, known for his opinionated stances and lively dialogue on Twitter, stated on his personal website that Twitter has banned him from the social media website for tweets that violated its rules.
In a blog titled “Bourdain,” Simon stated that while others have freely shared “anti-human” opinions on immigrants and spread lies about young survivors of the Holocaust on Twitter, fighting back with words on Twitter was not allowed for him. Simon tweeted “Die of boils” to a Twitter user Wednesday, which is likely the tweet that got him banned.
Twitter states in its policy that users “may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.”
“You CANNOT wish that these people should go away and die of a fulminant venereal rash. Slander is cool, brutality is acceptable. But the hyperbolic and comic hope that a just god might smite the slanderer or brutalizer with a deadly skin disorder is somehow beyond the pale,” Simon said.
Simon and Twitter did not immediately respond to The Sun’s emails for request for comment.
Twitter states on its website that it requires users to delete prohibited content before they can again post on the website or interact with other users. It can also temporarily limit access or permanently suspend their account.
Simon wrote in his blog post he was indifferent about removing the tweets, and repeated the incendiary line to Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter.
“Die of boils, @jack,” Simon wrote.
“As far as I’m concerned, your standards in this instance are exactly indicative of why social media — and Twitter specifically — is complicit in transforming our national agora into a haven for lies, disinformation and the politics of totalitarian extremity. The real profanity and disease on the internet is untouched, while you police decorum.”
Lippman tweeted that Simon was unsure of whether he would return to Twitter and that Simon would write something for her to share.
Despite the fire in Simon’s blog post, the writer began his “Bourdain” post lightly and focused on the loss of the chef.
“I am trying to find words for my friend. I will post something here later if they ever come. For now, just know how much Tony Bourdain — for all his wit and sharp edges, for all his grandiose and larger-than-life persona — was a genuinely good man and careful colleague,” he wrote. “And that doesn’t begin to express how empty the world feels this morning.”