The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) ousted Marko Rodriguez from the TinkerPop project, a project he co-founded, because of his tweets. What Rodriguez sees as him exercising his freedom of expression was viewed as hate speech by ASF in today's increasingly intolerant world, and a violation of the organization's code of conduct.
“I was removed from the project I started 11 years ago for ‘publishing offensive humor that borders on hate speech,'” Rodriguez said in a statement emailed to The Register.
The TinkerPop project is an open source graph computing and analytics framework. Rodriguez is also the CEO of ReduX, a consultancy that provides graph and stream computing services.
He continued to allege that he was removed because of Big Tech.
“However, now that Big Tech has secured the ASF board, it is a way to ‘shut me up' about the monopolistic practices of Big Tech,” Rodriguez said. The computer science guru believes that “woke culture” is supported by Big Tech. Woke culture helps protect big-tech's economic monopoly “by monopolizing the ideology of the people,” according to Rodriguez.
According to Rodriguez, his colleagues in the TinkerPop project discussed the tweets and concluded that while the “non-Apache affiliated Twitter account” he ran “presents racy satire” the company has no “right to tell him he is wrong.”
However, the ASF board did not agree with his colleagues. The board removed him claiming he broke the non-profit's code of conduct.
“The ASF Board of Directors removed an individual from an organizational committee that makes decisions on behalf of one of our many projects,” an ASF spokesperson said. “This action was taken, in accordance with the ASF Bylaws, to protect our community of contributors.”
Rodriguez blasted ASF for their attempts to police free speech.
“I like to tweet, so I tweet. If Apache likes to police tweets, then may they police tweets,” Rodriguez replied. “The question becomes: do they really like to police tweets? Are they finding as much joy in policing tweets as I find in tweeting tweets? If so, then we are both happy and the world rejoices. If not, then how can we help Apache find joy … For joyless people ultimately impede those that do find joy in what they do,” he said in an email to The Register.
In another email, he claimed that he had received death threats from people demanding he apologize for his remarks. He added that such people assume he is a Trump supporter. “I've never voted,” he said. “I simply don't care.”
The tweets that led to his removal from a project he helped get off the ground were posted on a Twitter account that had only 47 followers at press time.
In an email to the board, obtained by The Register, Rodriguez called on the board to avoid being “another organization of fools that sway in the breeze of the mob's zeitgeist.”
Following his removal from the project, several ASF members have left, including one member of the board, Niclas Hedhman. In Hedhman's opinion, the removal of Rodriguez is “cancel culture.”
“When the internet was new, we all knew that a written message is flawed and any perceived wrong-doing is likely because I am reading it wrongly,” Hedhman wrote in an email to The Register. “Now, it is the opposite. All words/sentences are interpreted in the most absurd way possible, assigning malice when there clearly isn't any or the other way around. Newspeak is in full swing, and professional victimhood is elevated to religion, complete with hierarchy, clergy, constituents and scribes.”
Hedhman did acknowledge the inflammatory nature of Rodriguez's tweets, but argued that in the US it's not against the law to be offensive.
“The tweets in question were obvious satire, ‘bad/dark humor' and trolling for the sake of making people upset,” said Hedhman.
“It was the essence of why I am not on Twitter and think it is the worst plague that has been inflicted on humans in recent years. I didn't like Marko's tactics, but I can understand his angle.”
“If speech is not allowed to be offensive, it would not need protection,” he added.