Canadian feminist writer Meghan Murphy has filed a lawsuit against Twitter after being banned by the platform for misgendering a trans person.
Murphy had previously been suspended from Twitter, where she had approximately 25,000 followers on her verified account, for “hateful conduct” when she tweeted that “men aren’t women.”
Armed with a trifecta of leading tech lawyers, Murphy is now suing the Silicon Valley giant for breach of contract, promissory estoppel and violation of the unfair competition law.
“On November 23, 2018, Twitter permanently suspended her account. The reason? She referred to a trans-identified male (Jonathan Yaniv) using a male pronoun—even though this individual continues to identify himself using his male name on multiple social media platforms—including on Twitter, as well as in the Google review Murphy shared as part of her tweet. Yaniv had previously filed multiple well-publicized human rights complaints against female estheticians who refused to give him a Brazilian bikini wax. Yaniv publicly bragged that he was personally responsible for having Murphy banned from Twitter,” Murphy’s lawyers explained in a press release.
Murphy’s lawyers explained that Twitter grew to prominence by branding itself a “the free speech wing of the free speech party.” It promised no censorship for legal speech. Her team notes that the platform’s Terms of Service state that any changes “Will not be retroactive,” and that it will provide 30 days’ notice to users of any changes. However, when they added the policy against “misgendering or deadnaming” transgender individuals they did not provide notice to users — despite the promise in their TOS.
“Twitter’s roll-out of the policy was so secretive that the exact date that the new policy was added has never been confirmed, by Twitter or anyone else,” Murphy’s lawyers wrote in the press release.
The lawsuit also points out that in September, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before Congress on September 5, 2018 that the platform does not “consider political viewpoints, perspectives, or party affiliation in any of our policies or enforcement decisions, period” and “[o]ur policies and our algorithms don’t take into consideration any affiliation, philosophy, or viewpoint.”
Yet, the “misgendering” policy censors a political viewpoint. According to a 2017 Pew Research poll, 54% of the American public believes that a person’s gender is determined by birth and cannot be changed.
Murphy has some of the best representation you can get for tech lawsuits. She is being represented by Harmeet Dhillon, a nationally-recognized First Amendment litigator; Adam Candeub, a professor at Michigan State University School of Law who is an expert in communications law; and Noah Peters, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney with experience litigating against big tech companies.
Those who wish to donate to Murphy’s legal defense and help fight back against Big Tech censorship can do so here.