After Twitter banned the account of far-right provocateur Jesse Kelly on Sunday, some of his fellow conservatives are up in arms about what they claim is an act of censorship.
It’s unclear what specifically prompted Twitter to remove Kelly’s account, or if he can appeal the decision. A Twitter spokesperson told ThinkProgress that the company doesn’t comment on individual accounts.
However, Kelly, a failed Congressional candidate and senior contributor at The Federalist, has gained certain notoriety over the past few months, namely for his calls to break up the United States and incite a “world war.”
Jesse Kelly will now spend more time talking at his family about his fantasies of the mass slaughter of people who disagree with him.
— WhatCouldGoWrongHat (@Popehat) November 26, 2018
Jesse Kelly just showed me the final verdict:
twitter has permanently banned him.
His account is gone and will not be restored, according to Twitter support.
No warnings, no appeals
They’ve ghosted him.
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) November 26, 2018
Kelly was one of the most prominent far-right voices this year calling for the end of the U.S. Earlier this year, he tweeted that the “dysfunction” in Washington, D.C., meant that the country should break into two separate nations: “The Federalist States of America” and the notably misspelled “Peaple’s Republic of Soyland.”
Kelly later deleted the tweet, but wrote a piece in The Federalist a few months later that fantasized about “scalping” those with whom he disagreed with politically. He wrote that Americans will “almost certainly” die “in the inevitable communist purges,” and that the only solution was for Americans to “cho[o]se war.”
Kelly picked up a similar theme earlier this month, when he outright called for “another world war” on Twitter.
While Kelly has never identified himself as a neo-Confederate, he has peddled all kinds of tropes whitewashing the Confederacy. Last week, for instance, he claimed that American troops “invad[ed]” seceding states, and claimed that Confederate soldiers were simply protecting their homeland.
Kelly reportedly compared himself to Nelson Mandela as a result of being kicked off Twitter.
The ban follows Twitter’s recent moves to clamp down on violent far-right speech. Just last week, for instance, the company removed the account of notable far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, a purported adult who notably embarrassed herself when trying to protest so-called “censorship” of conservatives on social media. Loomer’s permanent ban comes after similar bans against conspiracy theorists with overwhelming ties to white supremacists like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos. All of their appeals to restore their accounts have thus far failed.
Predictably, other far-right voices rallied to Kelly’s defense, claiming that a private company like Twitter was now censoring him. White supremacist Scott Greer even tried to get the #FreeJesseKelly hashtag going.
Jesse Kelly is one of the greatest American patriots I have ever met in my life. He risked his life to serve the country he loves.
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) November 26, 2018
Jesse Kelly got banned but this kind of rhetoric from the blue check mark left is allowed every single day. If it weren’t for double standards, Twitter would’ve have any standards. https://t.co/7g5RYawUxc
— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) November 26, 2018
As with Loomer, much of the defense of Kelly has also centered on this supposed “censorship” suddenly facing conservative voices on social media. The theme has even been picked up by President Donald Trump, who said the companies are trying to “silence conservative voices.” But the claims are, of course, bunk — there is no evidence that social media companies like Facebook or Twitter are actively trying to censor conservatives simply for the sake of their political beliefs.
It’s unclear what Kelly’s next move will be on social media, or in terms of making a living. A representative from ExploreUSA RV Supercenter confirmed to ThinkProgress that Kelly was no longer working there as an RV salesman.
Thankfully for Kelly, there’s at least one group that would likely welcome him with open arms: the secessionists and neo-Confederates he so clearly admires. After all, with secessionists recently hosting the “largest secession conference in America” — and with the Republican Senate candidate in Mississippi an unabashed fan of the Confederacy — there’s ample room for Kelly to formally join their ranks, and to peddle his bloodthirsty fan-fiction for others who share his dreams of American disintegration.