Months after Twitter first announced its plan to crack down on trolls and make the social media platform a safer environment for all, it has taken one large step towards making good on its promises. On Sunday, Charles Johnson, Twitter troll extraordinaire, was banned from the site, after he advocated for the “taking out” of DeRay McKesson, a well-known civil rights and social justice activist.
Not only was his main Twitter account, @ChuckCJohnson suspended, but accounts created after the initial suspension, including @citizentrolling and @freechucknow, have also been banned. Johnson and his lawyers have threatened legal action, but for now, we can all breathe a sigh of collective relief.
This is at least the fourth time that Johnson and his bigoted, racist, sexist commentary has landed him in hot water with Twitter, but this latest incident may finally be the straw that breaks the too-strong camel’s back. McKesson responded to Johnson’s threat on Twitter, writing, “So, I woke up to this. Hate is organized in America. & yes, I take this as a serious threat.” And apparently, Twitter agreed.
However, to Johnson, his consistent online abuse and battery is simply a more non-traditional form of investigative reporting and good journalism. Taking to his blog, GotNews.com, Johnson wrote, “Twitter has a serious problem with investigative journalism that breaks the mold.”
He continued, “Twitter doesn’t seem to have a problem with people using their service to coordinate riots, but they do have a problem with the kind of journalism I do.” If that kind of journalism is muckracking and the general falsification of fact, then Johnson may be right. This is, after all, the man who insists that Obama is gay, that blacks are intellectually subpar when compared to whites, and that homosexuality is to blame for the recent Amtrak derailment.
Of course, just because Twitter is finally taking a seemingly harsher stance against Johnson doesn’t mean that this troll has gone to bed. He’ll be redoubling his efforts on his blog, on Facebook, and on Reddit, where he’s pledged to hold an “Ask Me Anything” session. But friends, if there’s one troll you don’t want to feed, its name is Charles Johnson.