According to the owner of the right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ Twitter account Libs of TikTok, Twitter suspended the account Wednesday.
Chaya Raichik, the former Brooklyn real estate saleswoman who runs the hate account, claimed her account was temporarily suspended for no apparent reason.
The account received a "wrongful 7-day suspension as the result of a targeted harassment campaign from the Left to deplatform me," Raichik wrote on her blog.
For weeks, Libs of TikTok has been targeting hospitals nationwide that provide gender-affirming care and inspiring attacks on the facilities. For example, in Boston, a right-wing extremist was arrested for calling in a hoax bomb threat to Boston Children's Hospital after Raichik targeted the facility online.
Raichik reportedly had a law firm send a letter threatening legal action if Twitter decided to ban her account permanently.
CEO of the Babylon Bee, a right-wing site advertised to be conservative Christian satire, Seth Dillon took to his Twitter account to call out the platform for kicking Libs of TikTok off it.
"BREAKING: Twitter has once again hit Libs of TikTok with a 7-day suspension for "hateful conduct." No specific tweets were flagged," Dillon wrote. "We've since fired off another letter to Twitter (attached). They're on notice that we will sue them if they permanently suspend us."
It's unclear what the extent of Dillon's involvement is in the Libs of TikTok account, but he recently indicated that he would be subsidizing Raichik's venture with his personal financial support.
In April, Dillon (an expert online troll) posted a thread supporting Raichik, revealing that he had personally agreed to a deal "that will turn her heroic, high-risk work into a career." Dillon was apparently upset that the Washington Post's Taylor Lorenz had revealed Raichik's identity after months of anonymously posting vitriol online without consequence.
In the letter, Raichik's attorney calls her a "journalist... who reports under the name Libs of TikTok" and makes several veiled insults and empty threats against the social media giant.
"Many Americans are tired of listening to your company talk the talk of free expression while walking the walk of censorship. And LOTT is no exception," wrote attorney James Lawrence III. "If Twitter refuses to live up to its own words and aspirations and permanently bans our client's account, LOTT will have no choice but to ask a court to order Twitter to live up it is own statements. We reiterate our request that Twitter immediately reinstate the @LibsofTikTok account."
On her blog, Raichik begs supporters to chip in cash to fund the extremist's legal defense fund so that she can continue her crusade against LGBTQ+ people.
"The truth is I haven't engaged in hateful conduct. I've just exposed the Left's depravity by reporting the facts. There's no rule against that, so they have to make up violations I've never committed," Raichik wrote.
She paints herself as a martyr, saying, "I'm not taking it lying down. I've vowed to sue Twitter if they permanently suspend me, and I meant it."
But there's a rub for which Raichik sets up the ask.
She continued, "However, a lawsuit against Twitter will be extremely expensive. Twitter will fight back. Litigation could draw on for months, or even years."
And then she went to her followers hat-in-hand, writing, "So I've started a Libs of TikTok Legal Fund where you can send a tax-deductible donation to help cover the legal fees associated with fighting back against not only Big Tech, but every single media outlet that has lied about me to try and get me deplatformed. That fight has already begun, and legal bills are already piling up."
And to close out the call to her supporters, she added, "Whatever you can chip in — even if it's just a few bucks — will go directly into the fund, making this fight possible. It's time for us to get more wins under our belt and to let them know that they can no longer demonize and silence anyone who dares to speak the truth. This is bigger than just me. This is about free speech. It's about truth. "
Harvard Law School Cyberlaw clinical instructor and trans activist Alejandra Caraballo tracks right-wing extremism targeting marginalized communities. The lawyer responded to the news of Libs of TikTok's temporary suspension with a number of Twitter threads.
First, Caraballo argued that Raichik's establishment of a legal defense fund seemed questionable at best.
"Libs of Tiktok created a legal defense fund that claims donations are tax deductible," Caraballo wrote. However, she pointed out that the endeavor may be in violation of several policies and laws and could be illegal.
"Interestingly, they say it's a 501(c)3, sponsored by another org, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation. The problem? Charities cannot be established to benefit a specific person," the Harvard educator wrote.
Caraballo continued in another thread, inviting readers to consider where the funding for Raichik's continued hate messages comes from.
"It also remains to be answered why such deeply connected Trump and Republican party operatives are so invested in keeping up a Twitter account that specifically targets LGBTQ people. There are deep conservative money interests behind Libs of Tiktok," Caraballo wrote.
As Caraballo points out, Twitter has suspended Libs of TikTok temporarily multiple times to date, which appears to be some kind of special treatment. Most Twitter accounts that engage in serious violations are permanently banned. It's unclear to what extent Libs of TikTok will be able to continue raising funds that utilize popular payment processing systems, but The Advocate has reached out to several major payment processors for comment and will report updates when we receive a response.
The Advocate also reached out to Twitter to inquire about the status of the Libs of TikTok account but did not immediately hear back.
Note: An earlier version of this article featured a photograph of a person who shares the name Chaya Raichik with the owner of the Libs of TikTok account. The Advocate became aware of the possibility that the person in the photo is not the owner of the Libs of TikTok account, and for that reason, we have taken that photo down. We regret the error.