EXCLUSIVE: Republican Sen. Josh Hawley slammed Twitter’s response to the “Uncle Tim” trending topic against GOP Sen. Tim Scott as a “glaring double standard,” calling the phrase “racist and grotesque.”
“Uncle Tim” began trending after Scott, R-S.C., delivered his Republican rebuttal to President Biden’s joint session address to Congress on Wednesday night.
Twitter, after nearly 12 hours of the phrase trending, eventually blocked the topic.
But Hawley, R-Mo., slammed the social media giant’s response.
“With that particular slogan, which is racist and grotesque, and it is meant to be racist and meant to be disgusting, and the people who are promoting it on Twitter know that,” Hawley told Fox News. “If it’s racism they attribute to other people, they say, ‘oh, this is the right, and they’re using offensive speech,’ they want to take it down immediately and want to lock out the people who are doing it, and that’s just speech they don’t like.”
“Here, you have an overtly racist hashtag that is trending, and you have people promoting it and initially, Twitter does nothing,” Hawley told Fox News. “Finally, the outcry gets so, so overwhelming, they have to be seen to take some sort of action.”
He added: “It just shows, I think, the incredible double standard. It is a glaring double standard.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, at a hearing this past March. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File)
Scott, who is Black, during his GOP response, declared the United States is not a racist country while saying he had encountered racism in his life. Some of it, he said, came from the left in the form of being called an “Uncle Tom,” a derogatory phrase for Blacks who are viewed as too deferential to Whites.
“I get called Uncle Tom, and the N-word by progressives, by liberals,” Scott said during his speech.
After his rebuttal, “Uncle Tim” appeared on Twitter’s trending topics as more and more tweets relayed the racially charged play on his name.
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News on Thursday morning the company was “blocking the phrase… from appearing in Trends.”
“This is in line with our policies on Trends,” the spokesperson told Fox News, noting that the company wants Trends “to promote healthy conversations on Twitter.”
“This means that at times, we may not allow or may temporarily prevent content from appearing in Trends until more context is available,” the spokesperson said. “This includes Trends that violate The Twitter Rules.”
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Twitter explained to Fox News that Trends were “determined by an algorithm and, by default, are tailored for you based on who you follow, your interests, and your location.”
“This algorithm identifies topics that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover the hottest emerging topics of discussion on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.
Scott, though, was not satisfied with the company’s response.
“It is really disheartening to see the left’s response and frankly, even Twitter’s response to racism and racial slurs,” Scott said on “Hannity” Thursday night. “If it comes from the left, it must be okay, according to Twitter’s response—12 hours later.”
When asked why it took so long to block a phrase that violated its policies, Twitter declined to expand on its statement.
“What the left wants, and what Twitter wants is to control speech they don’t like, every if it is not actually offensive,” Hawley told Fox News on Friday. “And anything that is actually offensive, that is against someone on the right, they’re happy to let it go on, without any sort of pushback at all.”
He emphasized: “It is a glaring, glaring double standard.”