Twitter CEO Elon Musk restored the account belonging to Christian satire outlet The Babylon Bee on Friday.
“We’re back. Let that sink in,” said The Babylon Bee in a nod to Musk’s recent acquisition of the platform.
The outlet was banned from the social media site earlier this year for an article that jokingly named Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine, a biological male who claims female identity, as “Man of the Year.” Musk, a vocal fan of The Babylon Bee and a former guest on their podcast, consulted with the company’s leadership before launching his bid to acquire Twitter, according to Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon.
“Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech,” Dillon reported. “He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”
Twitter initially refused to revoke the decision to lock The Babylon Bee’s account. According to Dillon, the company wrote: “Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision.”
Musk also said on Friday that a decision has not yet been made about restoring the account belonging to former President Donald Trump, who launched his third bid for the White House earlier this week. Musk restored accounts belonging to DailyWire+ host Jordan Peterson, as well as comedian Kathy Griffin, who was recently suspended for impersonating Musk.
“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” the multibillionaire said.
Americans with conservative viewpoints have faced censorship from the nation’s major institutions, from government entities to technology conglomerates, as Musk himself recently acknowledged. Libs of TikTok, a popular account that reposts videos from radical left-wing activists, was temporarily locked out of Twitter several months ago for a “hateful conduct” warning. Allie Beth Stuckey, a commentator and podcast host, was suspended from Twitter on two separate occasions, once for saying that a transgender Olympic weightlifting competitor is “still a man,” and again for denouncing a Fox News segment that highlighted a family who claimed their child was transgender.
Musk recently told the public that he purchased the company in order to facilitate open dialogue between citizens with differing opinions. “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” the multibillionaire wrote in a statement. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
The world’s richest man has nevertheless faced aggressive internal opposition from Twitter employees. He has fired a handful of employees who publicly opposed him and told others that they would be expected to work “long hours at high intensity” if they desire to continue at the company.