Twitter briefly banned Carpe Donktum, President Donald Trump’s favorite meme maker and a Human Events contributor. The company reversed its decision after roughly half an hour hour after suspending his account, following widespread criticism. Donktum stated on a live Periscope broadcast that his account was suspended for “copyright infringement.”
Donktum stated in the broadcast that the offending video was posted in February 2018, over a year and a half ago. He argued that the only copyrighted content in the video was a five-second clip of a song at the very end of the video. Donktum also stated that he complies with Twitter’s rules, and does not repost videos that have been subject to a DMCA takedown request.
The entertainer and video creator, whose identity was revealed without permission by BuzzFeed News after he was invited to the Oval Office by President Trump, found himself in the limelight once again following the publication of a 23-paragraph New York Times report on a “macabre” meme based on a scene from the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service.
A pseudonymous meme maker named “TheGeekzTeam” transposed the faces of actor Colin Firth with Donald Trump and overlaid various corporate logos—CNN, MSNBC, and other news organizations, to name a few—onto people in the scene, who are shot. The video meme was a part of a larger compilation of clips produced by Carpe Donktum’s MemeWorld art collective that ran in the background of one of the side rooms at AMPFEST 2019 in Florida.
Following the New York Times report, the formerly obscure video is being widely shared.
Carpe Donktum, who did not make the video, defended the meme creator in a statement on MemeWorld.
“MemeWorld has not and does NOT condone ANY violence committed by ANYONE, for ANY REASON,” he wrote. “The Kingsman video is CLEARLY satirical and the violence depicted is metaphoric. No reasonable person would believe that this video was a call to action, or an endorsement of violence towards the media. The only person that could potentially be “incited” by this video is Donald Trump himself, as the main character of the video is him. THERE IS NO CALL TO ACTION.” [Emphasis in original]
Carpe Donktum established his Twitter account in 2008 and built a following of 168,000 users prior to the ban. Twitter provides only limited explanations for its moderating decisions and offers little recourse to users whose accounts are suspended. The reversal of Carpe Donktum’s ban is an exception, not the rule.
Other high profile users, including former CNN contributor Reza Aslan and comedienne Kathy Griffin, remain unaffected by moderation despite their violent rhetoric towards conservatives and President Trump.