By Bradford Betz, ,
Published September 24, 2018
Actor James Woods has been locked out of his Twitter account over a two-month-old tweet that was found to be in violation of the tech company’s rules.
The tweet, posted July 20, included a hoax meme that said it came from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the midterm elections.
Woods said he received an email from Twitter on Thursday saying the tweet "has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election."
The email said Woods can use his account again if he deletes the tweet, but would be suspended from the social media platform permanently if there are repeated abuses.
Woods told The Associated Press Sunday he interpreted the message to mean he’ll be allowed back on Twitter only if he decides to do what Twitter says.
"Free speech is free speech — it's not Jack Dorsey's version of free speech," Woods said, referring to Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.
"The irony is, Twitter accused me of affecting the political process, when in fact, their banning of me is the truly egregious interference," Woods said. "Because now, having your voice smothered is much more disturbing than having your vocal chords slit. If you want to kill my free speech, man up and slit my throat with a knife, don't smother me with a pillow."
Twitter told the AP that it doesn't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. A spokesman for the social media platform said by email that he had nothing more to share when asked if Dorsey would respond directly to Wood's comments.
Fox News reached out to Twitter early Monday but did not immediately hear back.
His Twitter page is still online, though he can't access it. Many of his recent tweets include his views of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago.
Woods, who has more than 1.7 million Twitter followers and is outspoken in his conservative views, believes he was singled out. He said the original tweet was reposted by his girlfriend Friday and had been retweeted thousands of times by Sunday. His girlfriend's account wasn't locked, which he said proves his claim.
The meme, posted in July, said #LetWomenDecide and #NoMenMidterm. It claimed to be from a Democratic group, but it was determined to be a hoax campaign to encourage liberal men not to vote in November, according to the website knowyourmeme.com. Woods called it a parody.
Woods acknowledged the meme likely wasn't real in the original tweet, saying: "Pretty scary that there is a distinct possibility this could be real. Not likely, but in this day and age of absolute liberal insanity, it is at least possible ..."
Social media companies like Twitter have come under pressure to flag hate speech and posts that could influence elections offline. Numerous conservative and right-wing groups have protested that the tech companies disproportionately target them over liberal-leaning groups. Dorsey testified before the GOP-led House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month, as the committee examined whether Twitter has censored conservatives.
Woods said he wants open discourse, and called the situation a dangerous precedent for free speech.
"I wish this were about an unknown Twitter user so that I could be even more passionate about it," Woods said. "This is not about a celebrity being muzzled. This is about an American being silenced — one tweet at a time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.