Independent journalist Alex Berenson has filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden, a Pfizer board member, and others for pressuring Twitter to ban his account.
His account was banned after posting a tweet questioning COVID-19 vaccines.
Initially, Twitter resisted the calls to ban Berenson. However, eventually the social media platform caved to the pressure.
Berenson sued Twitter in a federal court in California, accusing the company of violating its contract with him. The lawsuit resulted in a settlement and Twitter admitting it should not have banned him.
The defendants in the new lawsuit, filed on April 12, are President Biden, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former White House COVID-19 official Dr. Andrew Slavitt, Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, and the White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty.
In a meeting with Twitter, Slavitt and other White House officials asked why Berenson had not been “kicked off” Twitter. Slavitt has previously called Berenson a conspiracy theorist.
Flaherty recently said that he remembered Slavitt “expressing his view that Twitter was not enforcing its content guidelines with respect to Alex Berenson’s tweets, and that employees from Twitter disagreed with that view.”
Gottlieb also asked Twitter to suspend Berenson. He has also previously called for the suspension of other people, including former acting FDA commissioner Dr. Brett Girior.
In the offending tweet, Berenson wrote, “It doesn’t stop infection. Or Transmission. And we want to mandate it? Insanity.”
According to his lawsuit, the defendants violated his First Amendment rights.
We obtained a copy of the complaint for you here.
“The government Defendants specifically targeted Mr. Berenson’s constitutionally protected speech and journalism,” the suit states.
“Members of [the Biden] administration engaged in a nearly unprecedented conspiracy to suppress Mr. Berenson’s First Amendment rights.
“Through 2021, they—and a senior board member at Pfizer, Inc. which has made more than $70 billion selling COVID-19 vaccines—worked together to pressure Twitter to suspend Mr. Berenson’s account and mute his voice as a leading COVID-19 vaccine skeptic. The White House and the Biden Administration did this at the same time government officials promoted their views on the necessity of COVID19 vaccination on Twitter, effectively blocking Mr. Berenson from commenting on their own statements or making his own.”
It adds that the permanent suspension “harmed both Mr. Berenson and a clearly identifiable class of nearly 100 million Americans whose interests he helped represent—Americans who either had questions about the vaccine or did not want to be forced to take a shot that they feared had been rushed through development and lost its ability to prevent COVID-19 infections within months.”
The suit is asking the court to stop the government from targeting the journalist and to award him damages.
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