A new record of censorship on Twitter made headlines on April 22 when a tweet from a professor at the University of Nottingham, in the English Midlands, quoting a famous line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI of Bard, Part 2, suddenly disappeared.
Peter Kirwan was warned on Twitter for “abuse” for quoting Shakespeare’s famous line “let’s kill all the lawyers,” according to The Times.
Kirwan explained that he made the tweet in praise of the Nottingham Shakespeare Rebels acting group’s new theater production of Henry VI, Part 2, which will perform the play at the Royal Shakespeare Company later this year.
The professor wrote: “Very excited to have @NottsRebels take the stage with @TheRSC for today’s Henry VI press previews. Everyone break a leg and kill all the lawyers.”
The academic explained that Twitter justified their action: “You cannot engage in harassment directed at someone, or incite others to do so. This includes wishing or expecting someone to experience physical harm.”
Twitter later said, “We took enforcement action on the account referenced in error; this action has since been reversed.” And it reinstated the post
Kirwan advised users to be “careful what they quote” and added: “Be sure to go see @TheRSC and @NottsRebels in this seemingly provocative production of Henry VI plays should not be discussed in the bird app,” in Shakespeare Bulletin, a scholarly journal for which he writes.
The full quote comes from Act 4, Scene 2 of the play, in which Dick the Butcher offers the suggestion to Jack Cade, who led a popular rebellion against the King in 1450. If Cade were to overthrow the regime, Dick the Butcher suggests as a plan of action, “The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.”
“Nay, that’s what I intend to do,” Cade replies.
Kirwin said that Twitter’s act of censorship brings to mind a long list of personalities whose accounts were deleted for not posting according to the social network’s control criteria.
Among the last users deleted in 2022 was: Babylon Bee, a satire site, when a 2022 Bee tweeted about Dr. Levine, who is transgender, and said he was “Man of the Year,” Fox News reported.
The debate over the lack of freedom on Twitter has been going on for years, with right-wing users seemingly being censored far more often than left-wing users.
Recently, the account of Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican candidate for the Missouri Senate, was also suspended after she tweeted, “Women’s sports are for women, not men pretending to be women.”
A deputy for Spain’s right-wing Vox party, Francisco José Contreras, was blocked from his Twitter account for 12 hours for stating that “a man cannot get pregnant” because men “do not have a uterus or eggs.”
District Media Group president Beverly Hallberg said Twitter is cracking down on the transgender issue and allowing only certain opinions to be posted.
She said, “They are focusing on specific issues … They are going to censor opinions as Twitter deems appropriate.”
Jon Schweppe is a policy director of the think tank American Principles Project. He tweeted in December, “Now we hope governors will also be encouraged to continue the fight against the evil gender ideology being forced on America’s children, by joining Arkansas and Tennessee in banning chemical castration and surgical mutilation of minors suffering from gender dysphoria.” He also suffered the deletion of his account.
The Chalkboard Review, an educational group that opposes critical race theory, was suspended on Twitter but was finally reinstated in early February. Twitter justified its move and accused it only of circumventing the rules.
Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRNA vaccine platform, was banned from Twitter in December 2021, allegedly for writing misinformation about COVID-19.
In February 2021, right-wing media outlet Project Veritas was suspended after sharing a video showing journalist Christian Hartsock approaching Facebook executive Guy Rosen. Following the episode, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe was also banned from Twitter in the same week it launched a series of reports.
But the most controversial Twitter removal was that of former President Donald Trump and the whole story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. After the 2020 election.
Twitter announced the permanent suspension of then-President Trump’s account in January 2021 and claimed it was for tweets related to the Capitol Hill riots of January 6, 2021—his account was never reinstated.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and the official Twitter account of Trump’s re-election campaign, were blocked from their Twitter accounts after attempting to share The New York Post’s link. The Post published emails recovered from a laptop belonging to then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s son in 2020.
In addition, it was discovered that Twitter had blocked links to the story, and users were unable to share it on the social network.
Twitter has rejected every appeal and fails to return the accounts of those who dare to speak their minds with the freedom they deserve.