Laura Loomer, a far-right activist, failed congressional candidate, and conspiracy theorist, heckled Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey during the first day of the “Bitcoin 2021” conference and accused him of “interfering” in the 2020 presidential election.
During a 30-minute fireside chat with the Human Rights Foundation chief strategy officer Alex Gladstein, in which Dorsey discussed his fascination with Bitcoin and how it can help onboard those currently unbanked, the Twitter CEO was interrupted by someone in the crowd who was later identified as Loomer. The far-right provocateur called Dorsey the “king of censorship” and a “giant hypocrite.”
“How can you say that this is a currency for everyone in the world when you are the king of censorship?” said Loomer, who is banned from nearly every major social media platforms, said during the conference. “Bitcoin is about decentralization, and you have no right to be here today speaking about this.”
Loomer was permanently banned from Twitter in 2018 following an Islamophobic tweet criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. In her tweet, Loomer referred to Omar as “anti-Jewish” and said that the congresswoman represented a religion in which “homosexuals are oppressed” and “women are abused.” A week later, Loomer handcuffed herself to a door at Twitter’s New York City headquarters to protest her ban.
That Islamophobic tweet was one of many. Loomer was also banned from using ride-sharing services like Uber after posting a series of Islamophobic tweets following a terrorist attack in New York in October 2017. In April, still frustrated by her inability to spew hateful messages on major social media platforms, Loomer said that she was considering getting a “Nazi-style Holocaust tattoo” to symbolize her “digital extermination” on social media.
According to Newsweek, which was in attendance at the Bitcoin conference in Miami, Loomer could be heard shouting at Dorsey that “censorship is a human rights violation” and “you are interfering with elections.”
When conference organizers managed to regain control of the room, Gladstein asked Dorsey if social media could become “more like Bitcoin,” a reference to the cryptocurrency’s decentralization. Dorsey agreed that it was possible.
“I know there’s a number of you out there who disagree with a lot of actions that Twitter’s taken,” Dorsey responded. “I know there’s a lot of you out there who disagree with [Twitter’s] policies and the way we’ve evolved them. My goal, in my life at this moment, is to remove—as much as I can—the corporate-ness of our companies.”
Dorsey went on to speak about Twitter’s Blue Sky initiative, a decentralized social networking project, and revealed that he intends for it to be free of censorship or corporate influence.
“Inspired entirely by Bitcoin, we want to do the same thing for social media,” Dorsey said.