Chase Iron Eyes, erstwhile Democrat candidate for the U.S. House, had his Facebook account suspended recently after he called for “war” against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
I had written about Iron Eyes unfortunate postings earlier this week.
“I and my family have had issues with Facebook before – I’ve been suspended for posting nudity, for my surname being two words,” he told Buzz Feed. “But in all these instances I’ve understood how this goes against Facebook’s rules. This status, it used figurative terms, it doesn’t call for violence.”
Iron Eyes addressed the suspension in a subsequent post on Facebook:
Given that the #NoDAPL movement has been extremely violent, with extremist activists instigating multiple riots resulting in hundreds of arrests, Iron Eyes calling for “war” is, at best, juvenile.
At worst it’s downright irresponsible.
Particularly when the tribal government at Standing Rock, where Iron Eyes is an enrolled member, is trying desperately to de-escalate the protests.
All that said, Facebook shouldn’t have suspended his account.
Iron Eyes is a rank opportunist. During his campaign for the U.S. House he struck a much more moderate tone on pipelines, telling me in interviews that he isn’t against oil development or pipelines generally while largely avoiding any direct position on the Dakota Access line. But as soon as that campaign was over he swooped into the protest camps, posturing himself as a leader of the rabidly anti-pipeline, anti-oil movement.
Censoring his inane social media posts only elevates this charlatan into a sort of martyr.
I don’t like this new impulse we have to try and censor hateful people on social media, particularly when they post under their own names. Not only do we martyr them, but we rob the public of the opportunity to see/hear their inanity.
Plus, I don’t want big corporations like Facebook or Twitter put in the position of acting like the speech police.
Besides, the best way to discredit people like Iron Eyes is to let them keep talking.