James O’Keefe, a conservative activist and founder of Project Veritas, should be able to take a break from Twitter after the company suspended his account for allegedly creating fake Twitter accounts. O’Keefe has denied the claim, saying he plans to sue Twitter for the suspension.
Twitter told Gizmodo that O’Keefe was banned for “misleading others” by “managing fake accounts.” According to the New York Times, Twitter claims O’Keefe managed multiple sockpuppet accounts to “ artificially amplify or disrupt conversations. ”
O’Keefe and his associates at Project Veritas have a long history of pretending to be someone else and not identifying themselves as the journalists they claim to be. O’Keefe first became known after dressing up as a pimp to secretly include ACORN staff in a series of videos. Then there was the time when he and three others dressed up as switchboard operators and tried to sneak into a federal building in Louisiana. They were arrested and found guilty
O’Keefe’s latest foray into journalism was to get a Project Veritas employee to create a fake account on Tinder. As reported By the New York Post, the staff member pretended to be a nurse on Tinder and went on five dates with Charlie Chester, a technical director at CNN. The Project Veritas staff secretly recorded Chester alleging that CNN is producing “propaganda.” With a rare exception, it is considered unethical not to identify yourself as a journalist when speaking to others and planning to report on what they say and do.
Twitter is also not a fan of people using its platform to impersonate others.
On Telegram, O’Keefe vehemently denied Twitter’s claim and announced on Monday, April 19, his intention to sue Twitter for defamation. He repeated his intention when he appeared on Sean Hannity’s show alongside lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, a former California Republican Party vice president.
O’Keefe claims to be fighting an oligarchy trying to undermine the truth, but he has also failed to address the serious ethical violations he and his staff repeatedly commit. While O’Keefe says Twitter slandered him for claiming to have created sock puppet accounts, he doesn’t seem to be concerned about his own staff creating fake Tinder accounts to snag the sounding board man at CNN.