Despite a fiery live debate on RT, both the spokesman for right-wing group Proud Boys and his leftist opponent from Code Pink shared the view that the group shouldn’t have been banned by Twitter.
Libertarian figure Gavin McInnes and his group, the Proud Boys, have recently found themselves in the company of the right-wing commentator Alex Jones and other alternative voices recently blocked on social media.
Twitter said that that their “accounts have been suspended from for violating our policy prohibiting violent extremist groups,” without specifying the violations committed by McInnes and his supporters.
The Proud Boys operate in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, describing themselves as “Western chauvinists.” Some of their members took part in the notorious alt-right rally in Charlottesville last August 2017, when one person was killed and dozens were injured in a car ramming. McInnis had denounced that rally, however.
Pawl Bazile, editor of the Proud Boys magazine, told RT the Twitter ban is unjustified, adding that the group has been actively working to distance itself from the extremists since the violent events in Charlottesville.
“If you read what we wrote before and after Charlottesville it was something we wanted nothing to do with. It was an absolute abject disaster run by psychopaths,” he argued.
The sanctions against the Proud Boys by the tech giant may be interpreted in a way that “somebody didn’t want people to know that there are reasonable people in the ‘New Right,’ who were saying we don’t want to do anything with that kind of Nazi racist dreck,” Bazile said.
The left should be “proud” that there are right-wing groups like this, who speak out against violence, he added.
Bazile’s opponent, Tighe Barry of the leftist group Code Pink, was far from “proud,” slamming the Proud Boys as “an extreme fringe group that espouses hate” and has racism and violence at its core.
The Proud Boys representative denied the claims and demanded Barry to back his words with proof, saying: “If there’s any violence I’ve espoused, please, read me the line that I wrote.” When no quotes were presented to him, Bazile told his rival that he didn’t do his homework and had no argument.
He went on to discuss the Twitter ban, wondering: “Who gets to pick out what hate speech is? Who gets to pick out what racism is? How come one thing is racist for one people, but its’ not racist for others?”
“The only way to fight racism and hate speech is more speech and better speech,” Bazile said.
Despite all the differences in their views, Barry also supported the right of the Proud Boys to be represented on social media.
“I believe the ‘poor racist boys’ should have their website,” he said, mocking the rival group’s name. “I believe that they should be on Twitter. I believe they should have Facebook.”
“We would like to have no hate speech, no racism, no divisions in our country,” Barry said, but added that those things don’t come from Twitter or Facebook, but have other sources.
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