Facebook announced today that it would remove alt-right sympathizer Milo Yiannopoulos, anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones, neo-Nazi Paul Nehlen, and the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan from Facebook and Instagram. Each has their own storied history of promoting incendiary rhetoric and harmful conspiracy theories, but prominent voices on the right, which have demanded that Farrakhan be removed from social media to disprove systemic bias against conservatives, flipped over headlines that lumped him in with the far-right figures booted by the platform.
Farrakhan has been utilized as a weapon by right-wing leaders who cite his anti-Semitic remarks and connections to several prominent Democratic leaders to downplay the fact that their movement harbors violent anti-Semites. When the Washington Post wrote about the news with the headline “Facebook bans far-right leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being ‘dangerous,’” instead of celebrating Farrakhan’s deplatforming—something they’ve demanded for months—they sprang into contrived outrage.
We have deleted this tweet because it incorrectly included Louis Farrakhan, who has espoused anti-Semitic views, in a list of far-right leaders. Facebook banned extremist figures including Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being “dangerous” https://t.co/iCI8pzK6aR pic.twitter.com/m87t1fglrZ
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 2, 2019
The incident is further indication that playing by the rules of the right-wing outrage machine is a losing game, because even when you grant the machine what it demands, it will still find a way to attack you.
Benny Johnson, Turning Point USA chief creative officer, voiced his outrage and shared photos of Farrakhan with prominent Democrats.
Are you effing kidding me?
Facebook bans “Far-right extremist Louis Farrakhan”
Here’s some iron-clad evidence of where Farrakhan is on the political spectrum, idiots.
Yes, that is:
– Barrack Obama
– Eric Holder
– Bill Clinton
– Maxine Waters pic.twitter.com/58vXcvQ59x
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 2, 2019
Stephen Miller (no, not the White House aide) wrote
Women’s March is going to be pissed when they find out they’ve been defending a far right extremist this entire time.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 2, 2019
Ben Shapiro complained that “Farrakhan isn’t far right.”
Do words mean things anymore? Farrakhan isn’t far right. He’s a blatant anti-Semite defended by a significant portion of the Left. https://t.co/V0TeDrjOZR
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 2, 2019
So did conservative commentator Katie Pavlich.
Ummm Louis Farrakhan is mainstream left, not far-right. https://t.co/uz1kPmCE4v
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) May 2, 2019
Leon Wolf, managing editor of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, wrote that calling Farrakhan FAR-RIGHT? was “surely a joke.”
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) May 2, 2019
Conservative radio host Steve Deace nodded to Covington Catholic High School students’ lawsuit against the Washington Post, writing: “Man, Covington boys can’t sue you fools enough.”
Louis Farrakhan is far right now. Man, Covington boys can’t sue you fools enough. https://t.co/cgNZ7m6QId
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) May 2, 2019
Radio host Larry O’Connor wrote of outlets with headlines like those the Washington Post originally ran, “you really suck.”
Wait…. Louis Farrakhan is a “FAR-RIGHT” extremist???
— Larry O’Connor (@LarryOConnor) May 2, 2019