Hudson Valley LGBTQ Dems’ Unexplained Twitter Ban Lifted

Hudson Valley LGBTQ Dems’ Unexplained Twitter Ban Lifted

That took awhile!

Following a weeks-long suspension from Twitter without explanation, an LGBTQ political club in New York’s Hudson Valley is finally back on the social media platform.

Twitter confirmed on December 27 that @hvstonewalldems — the Twitter account representing Hudson Valley Stonewall Democrats encompassing Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange Counties — was reinstated, ending a seven-week ban.

The account was restored shortly after Gay City News sought comment from the social media giant about the suspension. A Twitter spokesperson said the club was suspended because its account or one of its tweets accidentally got caught in a spam filter.

“The fact that they re saying it was spam is ludicrous,” Anthony Nicodemo, the club’s president, told Gay City News after the account went back online. Nicodemo spent more than a month issuing public pleas on Twitter expressing frustration over his club’s sudden and inexplicable suspension. He said the suspension occurred shortly after his club rolled out numerous political endorsements at once and he suspects that could have triggered the ban, but he has been left in the dark.

“If you’re going to allow hate speech from the president, it’s kind of difficult when an LGBTQ organization like ours would get blocked without so much as an explanation,” said Nicodemo, an out gay basketball coach and athletic director at Greenburgh North-Castle Union Free School District who was profiled by Gay City News in 2015 and received a Gay City News Impact Award in 2017.

The club’s account remained suspended as of the afternoon of December 27, but was back online by shortly after 5 p.m. that same day. However, there appeared to be lingering issues with its reinstatement because the club was listed as having zero followers. The club’s last tweet had come on November 6.

The drawn-out suspension came at a time when 2020 political races are heating up nationwide and the House of Representatives has approved articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Nicodemo said the ban negatively impacted the club’s ability to keep its members in the loop on the latest political developments.

“We weren’t able to inform our followers what was going on,” Nicodemo said.

Stonewall Democrats of New York City had on multiple occasions joined in on the effort to hold Twitter accountable for the sudden suspension. The citywide club on December 27 asked multiple specialists in inclusion and diversity at Twitter to intervene.

“As an Inclusion & Diversity specialist at Twitter and a New Yorker, can you help an LGBTQ Democratic club just up the Hudson River get its account reinstated? It’s been months,” the New York City-based club wrote on Twitter. “They do good work. As longtime tweeters ourselves, we can vouch for them!”

Nicodemo maintained pressure on Twitter throughout the suspension. On November 27, he stated that his club had been suspended for three weeks, yet Twitter did not suspend former Major League Baseball player Aubrey Huff for tweeting that he was “getting my boys trained up on how to use a gun in the unlikely event that @BernieSanders beats @realDonaldTrump in 2020. In which case knowing how to effectively use a gun under socialism will be a must.”

Now Nicodemo and his members can breathe a sigh of relief — but he wants the social media giant to at least show some transparency when handing down suspensions.

“Hopefully Twitter will do a better job to let people know,” he said.