A “queer feminist legal analyst” has sued President Donald Trump after she was blocked by the president from viewing his personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump.
Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza alleged that her career has suffered irreparable damage in the weeks after she was personally barred via Twitter’s “block” function from replying to or interacting in any way with Trump’s personal tweets or Twitter account.
Writing in Fortune magazine, Buckwalter-Poza said:
Gone now is my ability to participate in the timeliest and most robust conversations around law, policy, and politics on Twitter—those around the president’s tweets. Taking part in these exchanges was an ideal way to stay current on not just facts, but new ideas. These threads make up the marketplace of ideas in which my peers and potential employers, colleagues, and audience are present and participating. I’ve been forced out and have no meaningful way to rejoin them.
I didn’t think being blocked on Twitter was a big deal at first. It’s just a button you can click, a way to mute an ex or tune out trolls’ attacks. But it turns out that when the person who blocks you is the president of the United States, it can matter quite a bit. Every day I’m blocked I lose opportunities to advance my views and engage others’—literally the reason a reader follows a writer’s work, the substance a publication pays a writer for—in these conversations. I can’t fire off a 140-word tweet, create a thread, or share pieces I write to drive discussion within these very conversations. That quick click I thought was so inconsequential is constraining my career in ways I have yet to fully appreciate.
When Buckwalter-Poza boasted about the suit on Twitter, she was widely mocked:
I am dumber for having read this. Be warned, you'll feel your IQ evaporate off your brain like water on a hot skillet. https://t.co/pdQ1LOXUPq
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 14, 2017
Some people lose jobs because of robots, or because the plant was moved to Mexico; others because a celebrity blocked them on the twitterz
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 14, 2017
of all the arguments in favor of using the courts to micromanage how trump uses his twitter account this hed is by far the least persuasive https://t.co/lmBBwqLjdO
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) July 14, 2017
Trump's tweets are fully visible to anyone not logged into Twitter. Unless your purpose is to tweet him, this literally doesn't affect you.
— neontaster (@neontaster) July 14, 2017
Snowflakes are so fragile. https://t.co/PjIJ4yQWX9
— David Starsky (@Dogtownz) July 14, 2017
— DEPLORABLE CHRIS (@DeplorableChri5) July 14, 2017
Being blocked by Trump isn't hurting you at all. Log out and view.
Or perhaps, create another account like countless banned conservatives
— Aaron Lee Mathis (@aaronlmathis) July 14, 2017
Referring to yourself as a "public intellectual" is both hilarious and insufferably smug. How has the inability to tweet @ potus harmed you?
— Asher Ellsworth (@aeknipe) July 14, 2017
Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha Hahahahahahahahahaha https://t.co/HGoo7azfdv
— Scarborough's Hair™ (@EF517_V2) July 14, 2017
One person even offered a bit of advice:
Someone help this poor woman, who can't figure out how to set up a side account and screenshot Trump's tweets. https://t.co/goI5jSRfXr
— Brooke Rogers (@bkerogers) July 14, 2017
Trump is being sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which advocates for free speech. White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump’s director of social media, Dan Scavino, are also named as defendants in the suit. The suit was filed in the Southern district of New York.
The plaintiffs allege that Trump’s personal Twitter account, which boasts nearly 34 million followers, is a public forum, and being blocked for their viewpoints is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Public forums are areas that typically receive the strongest First Amendment protects.
The plaintiffs seek to be unblocked from Trump’s personal Twitter account, in addition to Trump being barred from future banning over opposing viewpoints.