If Charles Johnson is going away, rest assured it won’t be quietly.
Over the long Memorial Day weekend, the ginger-headed troublemaker who runs GotNews got himself thrown off Twitter because the company believed he was trying to solicit funds to have a guy offed. This is the fourth time he’s been kicked off. In this case, three times was not a charm.
The would-be murder victim is so-called “civil rights activist” DeRay McKesson, whom Johnson says actually incites riots in places like Ferguson and Baltimore.
Sounding like cast member from “The Sopranos,” Johnson used the phrase “taking out” to solicit funds to finance future hit pieces on McKesson. Which some journalists, like CNN anchor Carol Costello, took to mean murder. Johnson contends that in online diction this means taking him out in the non-literal sense.
“Only a fool would think I was trying to do harm,” he told The Mirror in a midnight interview on Sunday might (this is 9 p.m. Sacramento time). “Are you fucking kidding me? I’m going to kill somebody for 500 bucks?”
Twitter isn’t taking any chances — they’ve banished him for life. And this means his GotNews account and any new accounts he attempts to create under another name.
Even those on opposing ends of the spectrum — A.J. Delgado, a TV commentator, and Mother Jones‘ Ben Dreyfuss — say Johnson never intended the phrase to mean murder. There’s also a movement — the aptly named “Ginger Revolution” — to #FreeChuck on Twitter.
But Costello? She’s firmly in Twitter’s camp where Charles Johnson is concerned.
Johnson didn’t take kindly to Costello’s assumption.
“I think she’s a dumb bitch who manipulated a situation with DeRay for her own ratings,” he said in our phone conversation. “Frankly, CNN’s numbers aren’t the best.”
He’s particularly incensed that in her reporting on his exile, she never bothered to get in touch. “She never reached out for comment,” he said. “Very few people have.”
CNN declined to comment on Johnson’s comments about Costello.
WaPo and Politico also wrote stories on the Johnson debacle. WaPo dubbed him the “far-right mega-troll.” Politico called him a “troll” right in their headline, which he finds “absurd.” He said like Costello, neither publication sought comment from him.
As in the other instances when this has happened, Johnson has enlisted the help of an attorney, Jonathan Burns, to help him get reinstated on the medium he says is vital to his work. The lawyer seems like he means business. (See a letter from Burns to Twitter after the jump). Burns ordered Twitter to reinstate his client and to preserve all evidence in the matter.
“On behalf of my clients [sic-Johnson can certainly feel like more than one person], I demand that you immediately reinstate the above listed Twitter accounts. This charade has carried on long enough. It’s manifestly obvious that my client intended no physical violence toward anyone. Further, it’s not at all clear how suspending my client’s account pending your internal investigation could possibly work toward anyone’s security. Should we decide to litigate this matter, we will be vary [sic] curious to see how even handed your suspension approach truly is.”
Johnson also says he’s a Twitter stockholder. “I am not super rich, but it’s a publicly traded company,” he said.
The blogger reasons that that other entities have used the phrase “taken out” and not been accused of murder. He cited Salon, the Democratic Party and President Obama. He also says this is happening because journalists have decided that the way to deal with him is to have him kicked off Twitter.
“There is a concerted effort to silence me,” he said.
And he lamented that Twitter has lost its appeal.
“Twitter is no longer a place for free expression,” he said. “That’s too bad. A little scary in a certain sense. This is America.”
He really sounded down in the dumps. “It’s kind of sad,” he said. “This is going to make Twitter not enjoyable. They are going to find Twitter is no longer interesting. Twitter will be slightly more boring and more PC. I’m sorry to see Twitter become so crappy. I was a little too edgy.”
But there’s something else. He says he has had Denial of Service attacks on his GotNews website. He says he knows this because his tech team has informed him that pages of his site are taking longer than usual to refresh. In this kind of scenario, an enemy can theoretically set up a spam loop and destroy the functionality of his site.
For the time being, Johnson says Twitter has “permanently banned” him.
But he adds, “They’ve said that other times too.”
See the letter from Johnson’s lawyer…
From: Jonathon Burns <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, May 25, 2015 at 11:07 AM
Subject: Demand for Reinstatement + Warning, Preservation of Evidence
Cc: Charles Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, David Nowakowski <email@example.com>, Burns Law Firm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attn: Media Relations,
Please see attached correspondence for your review. Please also ensure that this makes its way to your legal department and insurance carrier. Please direct any official communications regarding negotiations, settlement, or agreements, to my office. I can be reached at means below, or at this email.
Very truly yours,
THE BURNS LAW FIRM, LLC
Tireless Advocacy. Uncompromising Integrity.™
1717 Park Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63104