Babylon Bee kicked off Twitter for naming Dr Rachel Levine its ‘Man of the Year’
Satirical website refuses to take down 'offensive' tweet as internet praises 'funniest thing ever posted'
The Babylon Bee has become the latest Twitter account to run afoul of the social media giant's obscure rules. On March 20, 2022, the satirical news website confirmed its Twitter account was suspended for "hateful conduct", and would be restored only 12 hours after it removed the offensive tweet. In this case, the tweet was where The Bee named Dr. Rachel Levine as its 'Man of the Year'.
The dig was aimed at Levine on March 15 and 16, amidst the ongoing controversies around transgenders. Levine made history in October 2021, when she became the first transgender official to be confirmed by the US Senate, as an admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The confirmation drew widespread criticism amongst conservatives, and Focus on the Family even dubbed Levine as a man on Twitter. That tweet led the Christian group to also have its Twitter account suspended.
However, it was a lesson The Bee did not take. On March 15 and 16, it put out tweets saying, "The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year is Rachel Levine." It isn't unusual for The Bee, a satirical site known for poking fun at liberals with its witty headlines and jokes, On this occasion though, it appears Twitter didn't see the funny side.
Bee refuses to take down the tweet
Along with its controversial tweet, The Bee also linked a satirical article with the same headline. Then on March 20, The Bee received a 12-hour suspension, which would only kick in after it had deleted the tweets. The news was shared by The Bee's CEO Seth Dillon, who tweeted, "I just received this notice that we’ve been locked out of our account for “hateful conduct."
I just received this notice that we’ve been locked out of our account for “hateful conduct.” pic.twitter.com/udMriKcDr6— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) March 20, 2022
Like many conservatives though, Dillon has refused to play ball with Twitter's rules. In a long thread, he said, "We're not deleting anything. Truth is not hate speech. If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it." He also urged followers to "Make them ban tens of millions of us" and subscribe directly to The Bee, so "we won't need traffic from big tech platforms to generate revenue."
The Bee's other social accounts, including Instagram, are still up. The Twitter account had over a million followers, none of whom will be affected by the suspension. The Bee will no longer be able to tweet, retweet, follow, or like unless it complies with Twitter's request. Dillon also did not say if The Bee was migrating to alternative platforms such as Donald Trump's Truth Social, so we will just have to wait and see how this plays out.
'Life is beyond parody'
The impasse has captured the imagination of social media, with many users getting behind The Bee. "This is the funniest thing the Babylon Bee has ever posted," one user said about Dillon's refusal to delete the tweet. Another person said, "The Babylon Bee getting a 12 hour ban and deciding to basically sacrifice their twitter account over the most mediocre transphobic joke imaginable is so funny to me." One Bee employee said, "We at @TheBabylonBee stated the fact that a man is a man, through satire, and got locked out of this platform for it. We are living in a clown world."
This is the funniest thing the Babylon Bee has ever posted pic.twitter.com/m18vWn97dC— Spurt Magoo (@spurtmagoo) March 21, 2022
The Babylon Bee getting a 12 hour ban and deciding to basically sacrifice their twitter account over the most mediocre transphobic joke imaginable is so funny to me pic.twitter.com/r2mXTPFcyS— Sat💚🐳 (@browsersatdv4) March 21, 2022
"Twitter suspending the Babylon Bee is an all-time low for Twitter," one person said. Another tweeted, "The Babylon Bee got banned for calling a man a man. Life is beyond parody at this point." A third person said, "I think I owe The Babylon Bee an apology. Previously I've maintained my stance that they are never actually funny but I must retract that now as them getting banned by Twitter is straight up hilarious."
Twitter suspending the Babylon Bee is an all-time low for Twitter.— PerfectStranger917 (@Jazzmaster222) March 21, 2022
The Babylon Bee got banned for calling a man a man.— Brittany Hughes (@RealBrittHughes) March 21, 2022
Life is beyond parody at this point. pic.twitter.com/YyUPoUocWq
I think I owe The Babylon Bee an apology. Previously I've maintained my stance that they are never actually funny but I must retract that now as them getting banned by Twitter is straight up hilarious.— MayaScientist (@MadScientist212) March 21, 2022