Update: A Twitter spokesperson responded late Monday to TheDCNF’s request for comment, saying, “The URL IStandWithPhil.com was mistakenly flagged as spam tonight, by an outside organization that tracks spam sources. We have restored access and apologize for the error.”
Read the earlier report below:
Twitter is blocking links to a website set up in support of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, who was suspended by the A&E network last week following an interview in which he was critical of homosexuality.
The petition, which is directed at A&E and has gathered nearly 200,000 signatures after four days online, says “I am asking your network to immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”
“Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family — a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole,” reads the petition.
But Twitter isn’t allowing its users to circulate the petition.
“Oops! A URL in your Tweet appears to link to a page that has spammy or unsafe content,” is the message returned to users who attempt to tweet links to IStandWithPhil.com.
Twitter’s guidelines explain that they block “the posting of suspected malware URLs, and flags suspected harmful shortened URLs, in order to make Twitter more secure and to prevent phishing and scams.”
But Faith Driven Consumer, the group behind IStandWithPhil.com, says that its site is clean.
“A Google page diagnostic of IStandWithPhil.com indicates ‘this site is not currently listed as suspicious’ and that ‘this has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days,’” said Faith Driven Consumer in a statement.
The organization asked supporters to send tweets to the company asking them to allow links to the petition site.
In the interview with GQ, Robertson paraphrased the book of Corinthians, saying “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Robertson added, “However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) rushed to condemn Robertson’s comments, leading to his suspension from A&E.
On Monday, Walt Disney Co. appointed Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to its board of directors. Walt Disney also holds a 50 percent stake in A&E along with Hearst Corporation, though no connection has been made between Dorsey’s appointment and Twitter’s blockage of the pro-Robertson website.
A request for comment from Twitter was not immediately returned.
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