Twitter Reverses Ban on Free Speech Activist After Spat With Trans Activist

On Monday, Twitter dropped its permanent suspension on Lindsay Shepherd, a Canadian free speech activist who had insulted Jonathan Yaniv, a transgender activist who goes by "Jessica" and forces women's waxing studios to wax his private parts. At least one woman has accused him of sexually harassing her by asking intimate questions and making lewd statements in an instant message.

Yaniv had engaged in disgusting anatomical insults against Shepherd, mocking her for being "loose" after having a child (even though she had a C-section). He also mocked her for a reproductive anomaly. Finally responding, she said, "At least I have a uterus, you fat ugly man." She apologized, but Twitter banned her anyway.

On Monday, Shepherd tweeted, "I'm back," with a screenshot announcing an end to the ban. "After further review, we have unsuspended your account as it does not appear to be in violation of the Twitter Rules," the social media company's message read.

Twitter's reversal of this suspension raises the question of whether or not the company will reconsider the ban on feminist journalist Meghan Murphy, who was also banned after a confrontation with Yaniv.

Unlike Shepherd, Murphy had not insulted Yaniv. She had merely identified him as the man who forced Canadian waxing studios to give Brazilian waxes to a man's private parts. This provocateur had approached many waxing studios, and when they refused him, he would threaten to file a human rights complaint against them. He used this threat to extort money.

The provocateur's exploits were partially kept secret by a publication ban on his name — a ban lifted in response to a complaint from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, where Shepherd works as a free speech fellow. After the ban was lifted, news broke that Yaniv had approached many women with questions about teenage girls and tampons in women's restrooms. In one case, his chats with a 14-year-old girl crossed into sexual harassment, according to an official complaint.

Yaniv is also notorious for requesting a permit for an LGBT topless swim event with kids as young as 12, with parents specifically excluded.

Speaking with PJ Media last week, Murphy condemned Twitter's actions in protecting Yaniv. She sued Twitter after the social media platform banned her.

"Twitter is in the business of protecting predators and silencing women who try to hold those predators accountable," she told PJ Media. "Twitter should be humiliated. They allowed this predatory man to have me permanently suspended from Twitter just for acknowledging that he was the one responsible."

Murphy has a uniquely strong case against Twitter, since Yaniv himself has bragged about getting her booted from the platform.

Even transgender activists have attacked this provocateur. "This person is the walking, talking, living, breathing embodiment of what people fear when it comes to trans people," noted transgender YouTube star Blaire White.

Although most people who struggle with gender dysphoria (the persistent identification with the gender opposite their biology) are not provocateurs and alleged predators like Yaniv, transgender activism opens the door to bad actors like him abusing transgender protections.

"It's not possible to change from man into a woman. This whole idea is based on a lie and a delusion. Nobody can prove that there is a difference between a trans woman and a man. What's changed? You've declared that something is different," Murphy told PJ Media. "If any man can identify as a woman, what's stopping any man from abusing a woman in a woman's space?"

"I don’t think that most people are identifying as transgender for this purpose but it’s obviously a very real possibility," she added.

If Democrats succeed in passing legislation like the Equality Act, which opens women's spaces to biological men who identify as women, they will be opening the door to provocateurs like Yaniv and worse.

Meghan Murphy and Lindsay Shepherd should not be silenced for warning about him.

After being allowed back on Twitter, Shepherd immediately wondered whether or not the company would restore Meghan Murphy's account.

"Thanks everyone for keeping the pressure on!! Wonder if they will restore Meghan Murphy?" she tweeted.

Indeed, Twitter should restore Meghan Murphy's account. It never should have banned her in the first place.

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