News & Politics

Triggered: Users Ask Twitter to Remove Scott Walker Christmas Tree Tweet

On Saturday, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced that Twitter had sent him an official warning after users flagged one of his tweets sharing a Christmas tree.

“This morning I got an email from [Twitter] saying they received complaints from this tweet. Merry Christmas,” Walker tweeted.

The tweet in question involved the image of a Christmas tree with the text, “This is a Christmas Tree that is used by people celebrating Christmas. This is not a holiday tree.”

Twitter gives users the ability to “report” messages on Twitter, alerting the social media platform that the message in question is: “suspicious or spam,” “abusive or harmful, “expressive of “intentions of self-harm or suicide,” or simply not interesting to the user in question.

When Twitter sent Walker the email, the platform was likely notifying the former governor that users had marked his tweet to be spam or “abusive or harmful,” a category that includes “hate speech.”

Walker did not respond to PJ Media’s request for comment. He did not share the email from Twitter, which would have identified the nature of the complaints.

It seems likely Twitter users accused Walker of “hate speech.” A few users attacked his message as a way to justify hate.

“The last time I looked Christmas is a holiday and thus any Christmas tree is also a holiday tree. Also the last time I looked using Christianity to justify hate and discrimination is pure heresy! Why don’t you check what the Bible says about heresy!” one user tweeted.

“Hi Scott. They’re called the holidays for inclusivity—many people & religions joyfully celebrate the season. The ‘war on Christmas’ rhetoric is an inane, ignorant GOP talking point based on fear & hate—spread from people like you,” another added. “There is no war on Christmas. Happy Holidays!”

Perhaps ironically, these messages accusing Walker of spreading or justifying “hate” by celebrating Christmas suggest that the “war on Christmas” is more real than they suggest. Americans are evenly divided on whether people should say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” Many non-Christians celebrate Christmas, including Muslims, non-Orthodox Jews, and those who do not affiliate with any particular religion. About a third of Jews (32 percent) said they had a Christmas tree in their home in 2012, according to a 2013 Pew Research survey.

Much of the rhetoric on the war on Christmas is arguably overblown, and there are far more important issues to discuss. However, the political correctness push to replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” is not over, as illustrated by this sorry episode with Scott Walker.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.