Twitter suspends Candace Owens for tweeting defiance of Michigan lockdown
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May 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter locked the account of conservative pundit Candace Owens over the weekend for tweeting that Michiganders should disregard the intensely controversial lockdown conditions imposed by Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and return to work.
Since the COVID-19 panic began, Whitmer has become one of America’s most infamous governors for the scope of the restrictions she has imposed, from ordering grocery stores to stop selling plants and seeds (even as lottery tickets remain available) to prohibiting travel between two private residences owned by the same individual. Her lockdown provoked a protest at the state capitol drawing thousands of angry Michiganders, and two federal lawsuits asserting violations of Americans’ constitutional rights.
“Apparently @GovWhitmer believes she is a duly elected dictator of a socialist country,” Owens wrote Friday in a since-deleted tweet. “The people of Michigan need to stand up to her. Open your businesses. Go to work. The police think she’s crazy too. They are not going to arrest 10,000,000 people for going to work.”
The next day, Owens received a notification that she had been locked out for an unspecified violation of the Twitter Rules, Breitbart reported.
“I refuse to admit to a violation, because none were committed,” Owens responded. “I unequivocally stand by every single word of my tweet. If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can use Twitter’s platform to encourage workers to walk out and boycott — I should be allowed to encourage lawful citizens to resume work.”
“The only person breaking any laws is Governor turned Dictator Gretchen Whitmer, who is impoverishing millions, ignoring the votes of her state legislature, and as a result, rolling over the constitutionally protected rights of Michigan citizens,” Owens declared.
Twitter has been the subject of numerous free-speech controversies for years, and alarmed critics yet again in March when it announced it would be aggressively policing COVID-19 “misinformation,” including “denial of global or local health authority recommendations” with the “intent to influence people into acting against recommended guidance,” or “call(s) to action such as “coronavirus is a fraud and not real -- go out and patronize your local bar.”
Whitmer, meanwhile, has extended her stay-at-home order until (at least) May 15, while lifting some restrictions on businesses and outdoor activities. She also tried unsuccessfully to get the legislature to extend her emergency powers by 70 days. Some sheriffs in the state have said they will not enforce the order “strictly,” and other law enforcement officials have spoken out about the difficulties of enforcing such broad-ranging directives.