Twitter Drama Boosts “What Is A Woman?”
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Over the last week, the conservative news site The Daily Wire has been promoting the free, Thursday premiere of its full-length documentary film about transgenderism, “What Is A Woman.”
We at Public were closely watching the launch since we are considering releasing our own two forthcoming documentary films, “The Censorship Files” and “San Fransicko,” on Twitter.
One of the most significant and least known of Twitter owner Elon Musk’s changes to Twitter is its ability to broadcast entire feature-length movies, which is potentially game-changing, particularly now that YouTube is increasingly censoring videos on everything from Covid to transgenderism.
But when it finally premiered, Twitter slapped a warning label, “hateful conduct,” on it and prevented people from being able to re-tweet it.
The move shocked and upset Musk’s many online fans, including the Daily Wire, which had just announced not only the streaming of its films on Twitter, but a much broader engagement with the platform.
The move was, on the one hand, surprising. Musk is an outspoken critic of doctors performing genital modification surgeries upon, and sterilizing, children. On the other hand, there has been a great concern among many free speech defenders that Musk’s choice of CEO, Linda Yaccarino, would bend to the will of Woke advertisers and impose censorship, just as YouTube has done. It demonetized Walsh for his views on transgenderism.
At 10 pm ET, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boering tweeted out a photo of himself and its stars: Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, Walsh, and Candace Owens, huddling backstage at the Daily Wire’s studio in Nashville and staring at their phones — and presumably at Twitter, where they were all tweeting angrily about the censorship, and pleading with Musk to do the right thing.
“A terrible day,” tweeted Boering, “but nice to be in the fox hole with the best team in the business fighting for what we believe in.”
Then, at 8:28 pm, Ian Miles Cheong, who frequently interacts with Twitter owner Elon Musk, tweeted that Twitter’s Head of Trust and Safety, Ella Irwin, had resigned.
Many speculated that Musk had fired Irwin for the censoring of “What Is a Woman.”
But Twitter was still throttling the film two hours later.
“Our film has been posted for a couple of hours,” tweeted the film’s star, Matt Walsh, at 10:26 pm last night. “You cannot retweet it. It will not appear in anyone’s feed. It has been flagged as hate speech. It has been blacklisted from the trends list. It still has nearly 900 thousand views.”
Then, at 4:50 am this morning, Musk tweeted, in response to Walsh, “Will be fixed tomorrow.”
At 8:19 am, conservative populist Tim Pool tweeted, “Elon is facing the reality of going up against the world's political powers,” to which Musk responded, a few minutes later, “I am on team humanity.”
A few minutes later, Musk responded to Wash’s tweet from yesterday, which said that the video was still blocked, saying “Works now. Only limit is that it will not be placed next to advertising.”
Musk’s statement suggests that the origin of the conflict was indeed that some corporate advertisers, likely large and powerful ones, did not want the film near their ads, perhaps fearing a boycott from LGBT activist groups like Human Rights Campaign, which, as Public reported last week, was behind the closure of the Michigan’s Womyn Festival for excluding transwomen.
By 8:25, Musk was actively promoting “What is a Woman.” Tweeted Musk, “Every parent should watch this. Consenting adults should do whatever makes them happy, provided it does not harm others, but a child is not capable of consent, which is why we have laws protecting minors.”
Musk tweeted “Absolutely,” in response to Peterson tweeting, “Prison. Long term. Without parole. No mercy. And maybe for the compliant ‘therapists’ as well as the butchers they enable,” referring to the surgeons who modify the genitals of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, and who believe they are the opposite sex.
By 8:28 pm, Musk tweeted out a White House statement affirming drugs and genital surgery for gender dysphoric children, calling it “Insane.”
Musk appeared to confirm that the problem was related to Irwin.
“Two people left Twitter’s trust and safety team in the past twelve hours. I'd like to know if that's related,” tweeted a user.
“Director related,” tweeted Musk.
In other words, Musk did the right thing. The public should be able to see “What Is a Woman?” even if and indeed particularly if it upsets advertisers. Large corporations should not be able to dictate what the public is able to see on a platform committed to free speech.
What’s more, “What is a Woman?” is an important movie. It is not a “far-right” or “transphobic” movie. It exposes the misdiagnosis and mistreatment of people, including children and people with psychiatric disorders.
What went wrong at Twitter? It’s not clear. But we know that the censorship occurred when Musk was focused on Tesla and was in China for at least some of last week.
At 9:40 am this morning, Musk tweeted “X,” which is the name of Musk’s holding company that owns Twitter, and signifies his vision for Twitter to become an “everything app” that streams videos, allows encrypted direct messages, and financial exchanges, such as subscriptions to creators like us at Public.
Then, around 30 minutes later, Musk tweeted, “Let that sink in.”
It seemed to be as much a message to the executives at Twitter as to the world.
As of the time of publication, the film has been viewed 30 million times.
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