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

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 26, 2017

FILE - WSU student Orion Welch, left, talks to James Allsup during the WSU College Republicans Trump Wall demonstration and Unity Rally counter protest  on the WSU campus, Oct. 19, 2016. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE - WSU student Orion Welch, left, talks to James Allsup during the WSU College Republicans Trump Wall demonstration and Unity Rally counter protest on the WSU campus, Oct. 19, 2016. (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.

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