There's been another bout of public outcry after some choice Twitter communications, but for once, it wasn't directed at President Donald Trump. Over the weekend, GOP candidate Paul Nehlen's racist tweet about Meghan Markle drew serious backlash in the Twittersphere, as reported by Newsweek. The tweet was so severe that Twitter suspended Nehlen over it — permanently. (Elite Daily reached out to Nehlen's campaign for comment on the tweet and suspension and did not receive a response by time of publication.)
In a statement to Newsweek about Nehlen's suspension, a Twitter official said: "While we normally do not comment on individual accounts, I can confirm that we have permanently suspended this account for repeated violations of our terms of service."
Because his account has been suspended, you can no longer see the Feb. 9 tweet, but it reportedly featured an image of Markle, who is biracial, next to her fiancé, Prince Harry. Overlaid on Markle's face was an image of "Cheddar Man," a prehistoric man who, according to The Guardian, lived some 10,000 years ago and is Britain's oldest complete skeleton. Scientists recently concluded that the man would have had dark skin. Nehlen's captioning text, according to The Sun, read, "Honey, does this tie make my face look pale?"
Nehlen, who is running as a GOP challenger against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the upcoming midterm elections, defended his original tweet with the following post on Sunday, Feb. 11, according to a screenshot shared by another Twitter user.
In additional posts on Facebook, Newsweek reports, Nehlen appeared to reference Twitter's suspension with the #ShallNotCensor hashtag. On Twitter, some of Nehlen's sympathizers began changing their profile pictures to photos of him, like the account below did, after a 4Chan posting called for people to show their support for him.
Users on Twitter had strong reactions to both Nehlen's original tweet and the news of his suspension.
Markle's Suits co-star Patrick J. Adams jumped to her defense, tweeting, "Oh @pnehlen - you're a sad and sick man with no sense of shame or class. Get a life."
He added, "And don’t go anywhere near MM - she's got more power, strength, honor and compassion in her fingernail than you'll ever know in this lifetime. Way above your weight class."
Meanwhile, other users called for Nehlen's removal from the platform, while others asked Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey directly to address the tweet.
"Let’s not forget that @Twitter makes their money on ad revenue. No advertisers are willing to risk their brand identity to be placed next to this," wrote Twitter user Sleeping Giants.
Nehlen has a history of making comments like this.
Nehlen's suspension, according to Twitter's statement in Newsweek, came as the result of a history of inappropriate tweets. A Jan. 31 report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows that Nehlen went so far as to publicly post the contact information of his critics, saying that "74 of them are Jews."
Nehlen, who failed in his 2016 run against Ryan, was an outspoken supporter of Trump leading up to the 2016 election, for which the latter expressed his gratitude. He is regarded as an alt-right candidate, openly sharing white supremacist memes on social media in 2017. Following this controversy, Breitbart News and Steve Bannon broke their ties with Nehlen last December, which Nehlen responded to with the following statement:
But the provocations didn't end there. A January 2018 tweet by Nehlen — which was, weirdly enough, smacked down by Larry The Cable Guy — contained anti-semitic comments, going as far as to say that Jewish people and anyone who doesn't acknowledge Jesus as "the Messiah" will "burn in hell." So Nehlen's tweet about Markle was just the latest in a string of extremely offensive comments.
Unfortunately, Nehlen's tweet isn't the first time that Markle has been subject to racist comments since announcing her engagement to Prince Harry on Nov. 26. In January, the leader of Britain's UKIP party Henry Bolton, ended his relationship with his girlfriend, Jo Marney, over a series of comments she made about Markle and people of color were made public, as reported by USA Today. Then there was the racist brooch that Princess Michael of Kent wore to brunch with Markle. This is to say nothing of the racist remarks the media has made about Markle, her family, and her joining the British royal family.
Despite all of these terrible instances, much of the world adores Markle and is beyond excited for the royal wedding, which is set to take place on May 19 at Windsor Castle. Hopefully, they can drown out the offensive comments from people like Nehlen with messages of support for the royal couple.