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Twitter suspends James Allsup, WSU student and far-right provocateur

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 26, 2017, 10:55 p.m.

FILE – “Let’s talk face to face,” said WSU student Orion Welch, left, to James Allsup, then-leader of the Washington State University College Republicans at a Trump Wall demonstration and Unity Rally counter protest on the WSU campus on Oct. 19, 2016, in Pullman. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – “Let’s talk face to face,” said WSU student Orion Welch, left, to James Allsup, then-leader of the Washington State University College Republicans at a Trump Wall demonstration and Unity Rally counter protest on the WSU campus on Oct. 19, 2016, in Pullman. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

First, Twitter came for his blue “verification” checkmark.

Now the social media site has suspended James Allsup, saying the controversial Washington State University student espousing far-right views violated its terms of use.

Allsup is a far-right activist who’s been accused of sowing racial divisions on campus since he led WSU’s chapter of the College Republicans and organized a “Trump wall” demonstration more than a year ago. In August, he attended the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, drawing attention from Washington lawmakers. He’s now a senior at WSU and co-hosts a podcast called “Nationalist Review.”

Allsup’s Twitter handle was @realJamesAllsup – a nod to President Donald Trump’s user name – and like Trump, he routinely used the platform to attack “leftists,” multiculturalism, “antifa” and Obama-era immigration policies.

By the time Allsup’s account was shut down on Christmas, it had amassed nearly 24,000 followers. Fewer than a third as many Twitter users follow WSU President Kirk Schulz’s account.

In mid-November, Allsup was among a handful of far-right figures who were stripped of their verification checkmarks – visual cues that Twitter gives to prominent accounts to help other users ensure they are authentic.

By disabling his account, Twitter has gone a step further. While the company doesn’t say precisely why it suspends individual users, Allsup’s penchant for provocation offers a variety of possible explanations.

On Nov. 29, for example, he used his Twitter account to harass a high school student about her weight – a departure from his usual, politically charged comments. The student had posted pictures of herself along with a text exchange indicating she’d been bullied at school.

“I’m on a 1660kcal a day diet and the pics of this girl just made that a whole lot easier,” Allsup wrote.