On Friday, CNN reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued the first indictment related to the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. The target of the indictment is unclear, but according to CNN, an arrest could be made as early as Monday morning.
That news did not sit well with one possible candidate: longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, who served as an adviser during the campaign. Immediately after CNN published their report, Stone began sending profanity-laced tweets at a number of the network’s most high-profile reporters. By Saturday morning, Roger Stone’s Twitter account had been banned.
Some reports suggested the Twitter ban is permanent, similar to the bans handed down to notable British misogynist Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiratorial trolls like Chuck Johnson. Stone himself disputed that assertion. He told Fox News his ban was scheduled to last “for 3 hours and 12 minutes” at least 16 hours ago, but the account is still suspended as of publication time. Technology site Recode says that people inside Twitter say the ban is indeed permanent.
Stone launched his Trumpian Twitter tantrum on Saturday in reaction to their report on the Mueller indictment. Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Anna Navarro, and Carl Bernstein were among the targets of Stone’s barbs. Lemon in particular—one of the only black and openly gay hosts on cable news—was singled out for harassment.
But it wasn’t the crude language that did Stone in. According to Recode, the tweet that resulted in the ban read, in part, “@donlemon must be confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished.” That language runs afoul of Twitter’s anti-harassment policy, which states that users cannot “incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 28, 2017
Twitter’s decision to ban Stone was widely applauded, but also raised questions about the company’s selective enforcement of their own rules. Other accounts that many would argue are far more abusive than Stone’s remain not just active, but verified. For instance, Richard Spencer—the neo-Nazi who helped organize and lead the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia this summer that lead to one person’s murder—remains on the site.
As does Donald Trump himself, who many have pointed out engages in the harassment of everyone, from grieving military widows to suffering U.S. citizens. He’s even called for the same kind of violence towards CNN journalists that Roger Stone did, except to an audience of followers that is many orders of magnitude larger.