Twitter bans Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran for saying Trudeau should be ‘tarred and feathered’
The professor used the phrase in a thread criticizing the government’s slowness to approve vaccines for children
Twitter suspended the account of University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran after his use of a seemingly violent turn of phrase in a tweet addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The tweet is part of a longer thread posted this week criticizing the Liberals’ slowness to approve vaccines for Canadian children.
“Health Canada knew half a year ago this was coming,” he wrote.
“Trudeau should be tarred and feathered for putting child lives in danger,” he continued, tagging Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Late Wednesday evening, Attaran said Twitter sent him a notice that said his account would be restored if he deleted the offending Tweet. Attaran said he would sleep on the platform’s request.
The account appeared to be reactivated, but Attaran had not posted to it.
The tweet follows a comment posted and later retracted by Health Canada Tuesday, which stated that it could take months to approve a vaccine for children. The agency has since clarified their guidance to state that it would instead take weeks, not months.
Go back to U.S. if you don’t like it here, Quebec MP tells Canadian professor
Trudeau calls for end to ‘Quebec bashing’ after Ottawa professor says province run by ‘white supremacist government’
Attaran’s Twitter account was suspended at midday Wednesday, according to CTV News.
“Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against participating in targeted abuse,” a letter sent to him reads.
“In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs on our platform, we do not tolerate abusive behaviour. This includes inciting other people to engage in the targeted harassment of someone.”
Attaran said he found the ban “absurd” and was “extremely disappointed.”
“That was obviously a metaphor,” he said. “It was not an actual exhortation to violence. And it’s obvious from the context because I tagged Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole. And I don’t really think that it’s realistic to imagine I was urging Jagmeet Singh and Erin O’Toole to wrestle Mr. Trudeau to the ground, tar him and feather him. No sensible person can read it this way.”
The ban, he said, is indicative of an anti-vaccine bias on the social media platform and Twitter’s lack of action on his own reports of “all sorts of abuse” he has faced on the platform for advocating the COVID-19 vaccinations.
“I believe there’s a new-found aggression on the part of liberals to attack those who are holding the government to account,” he said.