Category
Offensive Speech
Facebook

Laura Loomer Sues Facebook for Defamation, Requesting More Than $3 Billion in Punitive Damages 

Laura Loomer, an Internet personality known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, is suing Facebook for defamation after the company banned her and other “dangerous individuals” from the platform in May 2019. […]

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Erik Brunetti

Supreme Court Ruling Allows Registration of “Immoral” or “Scandalous” Words

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a ban on registering words or symbols that are "immoral" or "scandalous." The case was brought by designer Eric Brunetti who created a clothing line in 1990 that prominently displayed the “FUCT” logo. Brunetti had been trying to obtain approval for a trademark since 2011, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has consistently denied his application. The agency contends that “FUCT” violates federal law that prohibits words that are “shocking” or “offensive” on trademarked material.

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Kyle Kashuv

Parkland Shooting Survivor Lost Spot at Harvard Due to Earlier Racist Remarks

Kyle Kashuv, a Parkland School shooting survivor who stood out from his peers due to his gun support stance, was denied admission to Harvard after the university discovered a litany of racist remarks he made when he was 16 years old. In May, a former classmate released video screen shots of a Google Doc Kashuv and other students shared, showing Kashuv using a racial slur for African Americans more than a dozen times. The classmate also released a screen shot of a text message written by Kashuv that shows him using the same racial slur about black student athletes.

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Student protestor

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Embroiled in Free Speech Controversy

  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the latest college campus to become embroiled in a free speech controversy. During a campus event celebrating Israel’s independence, a student held up a […]

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YouTube logo

YouTube Bans Extremist Content

YouTube announced that it’s banning extremist videos that promote white supremacy, neo-Nazi ideology, and conspiracy theories. In a blog post, YouTube said its new policy would ban “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion.” The changes to YouTube’s hate speech policy comes after it was criticized for refusing to ban videos of a right-wing content creator, Steve Crowder, who’d been harassing a Vox journalist Carlos Maza, by repeatedly using racist and homophobic language in his videos.

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Gavel

Federal Judge Throws Out Charges Against White Supremacist Citing Free Speech Violations

A federal judge in Los Angeles threw out charges against three alleged white supremacists, saying that the First Amendment protected their speech. Robert Rundo, Robert Boman, and Aaron Eason, members of the Rise Above Movement (RAM), had been charged with conspiracy to commit rioting under the Anti Riot Act of 1968.  The trio allegedly used the Internet to coordinate combat training, travel to protests, and attacks on protestors at three gatherings in California. District Court Judge Carmac J. Carney ruled that the federal Anti Riot Act, which was enacted during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, was too broad in regulating free speech.

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Gavel

Illinois Supreme Court Rules That Revenge Porn Is Not Protected by the First Amendment

The Illinois Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that a state law which criminalized “revenge porn” was an unconstitutional restriction on the right to free speech. The case involves a woman, Bethany Austen, who was charged with a felony after she circulated nude images of a neighbor who was having an affair with her then-boyfriend.

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White House Refuses to Endorse Christchurch Call, citing Free Speech Concerns

In the wake of the deadly mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country’s Prime Minister is leading an effort to stamp out extremism online. The “Christchurch Call” asks for “collective, voluntary commitments" from governments and online service providers to stop the spread of extremism. The non-binding doctrine has been signed by 18 countries, including France and Canada, and by five tech companies, including Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. The Trump administration, however, declined to sign the Christchurch Call, citing free speech concerns.

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