The question came this morning on Twitter from David Simon, the author and TV showrunner who made his return to the social media platform after Twitter banned the former Baltimore Sun reporter in July after telling CEO Jack Dorsey to “die of boils.” A photo of Dorsey accompanied the tweet.
Simon returned with a blog post on his website (with a headline unprintable here) directed at Dorsey. The more than 2,100-word letter outlines the issues Simon perceives with Dorsey and Twitter: the platform’s lack of standards for objectivity and fact-checking, white supremacists’ spreading of hate and Twitter’s decision “to ignore such filth,” Simon wrote.
In an email to The Baltimore Sun, Simon said he was “ready to quit the platform” but returned after discovering a tweet he wrote from the summer explaining his planned departure from Twitter had been deleted. The tweet, one in a threaded series, read:
“10) So, die of boils, @jack. Yup. There it is. The sum total of my crime against Twitter. I’ve told you to drop dead, as I told libelers and liars to drop dead. You can say that constitutes a threat, but that would be empty and embarrassing. I hold no dominion over life [&] death.”
The ongoing saga between Simon and Twitter began in June, when Simon, in a blog post about the death of his friend Anthony Bourdain, said Twitter banned him for violating its rules. (A tweet, which has since been deleted, from Simon telling another user to die of boils was the likely post that led to the ban.)
Simon came back to Twitter later that month with public messages for Dorsey to “die of boils” and to “drop dead.” Simon’s frustration stemmed from users being able to send “anti-human” tweets about immigration and the Holocaust, he said, but a sarcastic response to die crossed the line for the platform.
Twitter’s guidelines say 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.”
Not trying to shut you down. Abhor censorship. I can personally block, always. And besides, your mama would never forgive me and hell, she’s been so accommodating to this point, I’m grateful. https://t.co/0Bofpofv0C