NEW YORK Former Democratic New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Fox News on Tuesday he’s preparing to sue Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for blocking users on Twitter based on their personal viewpoints, following a federal appeals court ruling barring President Trump from doing the same.
Asked where his lawsuit will be filed and whether other plaintiffs would be involved, Hikind told Fox News in an email, “All that’s being determined at the moment.”
“Most likely we will be [the] only plaintiff, but [we will be] citing other examples,” Hikind continued. “The claim is [the] same as [the] one against Trump. She uses that account for political/policy commentary, so to shut a citizen off from her statements is a problem — as well as blocking me from petitioning her or seeking redress.”
Fox News is told the lawsuit likely would focus on Ocasio-Cortez’s popular and active @AOC account, which has more than 4.6 million followers. Ocasio-Cortez has maintained a much smaller and rarely used official account, @RepAOC, with only 171,000 followers, but has used her personal @AOC account to discuss politics and engage with constituents and colleagues regularly.
For example, the top post pinned to Ocasio-Cortez’s @AOC feed on Tuesday stated, “A #GreenNewDeal is our plan for a world and a future worth fighting for.” On July 5, she wrote to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, “Thank you, @SenSanders. It’s an honor to work alongside you and the millions of other people fighting for education, healthcare, and a living wage as rights.”
Hikind added that in addition to himself, “several others, including journalists” have been blocked entirely from viewing or interacting with Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets. (Twitter also permits Ocasio-Cortez to “mute” users so that she cannot see their responses, without blocking them from viewing her tweets entirely — a middle-ground option U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald had suggested to Trump.)
Hikind said he was seeking others to come forward.
“If you or anyone you know has been blocked by @AOC please get in touch with me ASAP!” Hikind tweeted Tuesday, suggesting he may have wanted to speak to other potential co-plaintiffs or gather additional evidence.
Should Dov Hikind be sued for also blocking others!?
Where does the hypocrisy end?
Also on July 9, YouTube star and NY-11 Republican Congressional candidate Joey “Salads” Saladino announced that he, too, was planning to Ocasio-Cortez following the appellate ruling, saying she blocked him shortly after he announced his candidacy in May.
“I’m suing AOC because we need to be able to have a strong and vigorous debate between the parties, otherwise our fragile system of ideas and representation breaks down,” Saladino said in a statement. “Though she is not in a position of power, she is the voice of her generation of Democrat voters, and bigger than some of the Presidential candidates.”
A Saladino spokesperson claimed in an email to Fox News that Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to block Saladino was “unprovoked,” and condemned “digital feudalism, which those on the left seem enthusiastic about – completely antithetical to the American Nation.”
Saladino has been called a racist because of some of his videos and pranks depicting African-Americans. In one video, he remarked, “the black community is very violent towards Trump and his supporters.” (The video appeared to depict black individuals vandalizing a car with pro-Trump stickers, and later emerged to be a fake orchestrated by Saladino.)
In its decision, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals noted that because Trump uses Twitter to communicate with the public about his administration, and because his account is open to the public for people to comment on his posts, it warranted constitutional free speech protection under the First Amendment, which prohibits government discrimination against a person’s free speech based on his or her viewpoints.
The appellate ruling specifically affirmed a lower court’s decision that declared the president’s account a “public forum” for First Amendment purposes.