The graduation photo that made Kaitlin Bennett famous or notorious – depending on one’s politics – has been removed from Instagram. The Facebook-owned platform termed her defense of gun rights “violence and incitement.”
Bennett made a splash on the political scene in May 2018, when she posted a photo of herself with a rifle slung over her back and a graduation cap with the words “come and take it.” On March 31, Instagram sent her a notice that the photo was removed for violating its “Community Guidelines on violence and incitement.”
“If Instagram is going to say that I’m making direct threats to public safety, then they should call the cops,” Bennett told the conservative site Gateway Pundit, saying the claim in the removal notice amounts to accusing her of a crime.
“Ironically, they are perfectly okay with letting thousands of liberals use their platform to make direct threats against me all the time,” Bennett added, providing GP with screenshots of examples containing death threats, racist and misogynist insults, and other forms of abuse.
Instagram announced in early February that it would ban anyone who sends direct messages containing “hate speech” or abuse.
Bennett also pointed out that her photo was a political statement against violence – specifically, the 1970 Kent State Massacre, when four unarmed students protesting against the Vietnam War were killed and nine injured by the Ohio National Guard.
“I took my graduation photo as a statement that the Kent State massacre wouldn’t have happened if the students that got shot had guns,” she told GP. “By taking down my graduation photo, Instagram is siding with the mass shooters.”
Bennett’s graduation photo triggered an outpouring of liberal outrage at the time, including an insulting painting by actor turned Democrat activist Jim Carrey. Bennett went on to work for several conservative news outlets and accumulated some 230,000 followers on Instagram and 350,000 on Twitter, where her photo still stands.
Censorship on social media platforms – demanded by the US political establishment on the grounds of the phantom “Russian meddling” in the 2016 election – ramped up in 2020 on the pretext of countering “misinformation” about the coronavirus pandemic and “fortifying” the presidential election. Facebook, Google’s YouTube, and Twitter banned all questions about the election’s outcome and eventually banned President Donald Trump altogether while he was still in office.
When Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara, a Fox News contributor, tried to post an interview with the former president on Instagram this week, it was removed. An email she shared said that no “content posted in the voice of Donald Trump” is allowed on the platform.
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