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Twitter will not suspend the social media account of prominent religious leader and black activist Louis Farrakhan for a recent tweet in which he compared Jews to insects, the company told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday.
The Nation of Islam leader, who has drawn both scorn for his anti-Semitic comments and praise for his advocacy for the black community throughout his life, posted a clip of a Sunday speech he gave in Detroit during a 23rd anniversary event for the 1995 Million Man March.
In the speech, the minister said he supports rapper Kanye West's controversial remarks about repealing the 13th Amendment, then joked about being “anti-Termite” after an anti-Semitic rant.
I'm not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite. pic.twitter.com/L5dPQcnVg4— MINISTER FARRAKHAN (@LouisFarrakhan) October 16, 2018
Twitter stripped Farrakhan of his verification status in May after he ranted about “satanic Jews” in a separate speech.
But a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the platform’s recently announced policy changes, which include “language that treats others as less than human ... comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to a tool for some other purpose (mechanistic)” have not yet taken effect, so Farrakhan’s language is not quite in violation “of any extant policy.”
According to BuzzFeed, the spokesperson did not offer a date for when the new rule would go into effect, if it would at all or whether the minister’s tweet would violate the policy.
“Comparing Jews to termites is anti-Semitic, wrong and dangerous,” former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton tweeted in response to Farrakhan’s video. “For everyone who rightly condemned President Trump’s rhetoric when he spoke about immigrants ‘infesting our country,’ this rhetoric should be equally unacceptable to you.”
Comparing Jews to termites is anti-Semitic, wrong and dangerous. The responsive laughter makes my skin crawl. For everyone who rightly condemned President Trump’s rhetoric when he spoke about immigrants “infesting our country,” this rhetoric should be equally unacceptable to you: https://t.co/EvFp4ULugm— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) October 17, 2018
The Anti-Defamation League has called on Twitter to remove Farrakhan’s comment.
“Louis Farrakhan has a long history of vile, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. His latest remarks dehumanizing Jews by calling us termites are despicable,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement to the Jewish Journal. “We call on Twitter to remove Farrakhan’s hateful content from the platform to prevent him from spreading and normalizing such hateful messages. This content is exactly the kind of thing the new Twitter policy the company outlined just a few weeks ago is meant to stop.”