Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, who has steadfastly spoken out against the Israeli genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, was censored by X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday.
A post by the actress in the morning contained a graphic promoting a protest in New York City later that day that stated, “Stop the Bombs! Workers Demand Peace and Justice for Palestine! Ceasefire Now!” The rally at Bryant Park in Manhattan was also endorsed by more than two dozen labor and left-wing organizations.
Subsequently X flagged the post with limited visibility and a warning that stated, “This post may violate X’s rules against Violent Speech.” To view the post, X users must click on the warning label. The restrictions on the post also prevent commenting or sharing it, and attempts to do so include a message that states, “We try to keep X a place for healthy conversation, so we’ve disabled most of the ways to engage with this Post.”
The platform’s attempt to stifle the circulation of the post began after 24,000 users “liked” it, 7,600 users shared it and 1,100 users commented on it. As of this writing, more than 510,000 people have viewed the post.
According to X’s rules page, the prohibition against violent speech means, “You may not threaten, incite, glorify, or express desire for violence or harm.” Furthermore, among the items X lists as violent speech are violent threats, wish of harm, incitement of violence and glorification of violence.
The post by Sarandon does not contain a violation of any of the X platform rules. What it does do, however, is puncture a hole in the pro-Zionist propaganda barrage by the US government, the corporate news media and the Hollywood elite. By tagging Sarandon as a supporter of “violence,” X is justifying the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza that has now officially killed more than 20,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children.
Meanwhile, there has been an outpouring of public support for the stance taken by Sarandon on X, with many users thanking her for “standing up for humanity against genocide.” Others denounced the platform’s moderators for flagging the post, demanding an explanation of how the demand for a ceasefire and an end to the murder of innocent Palestinians constitutes “violent speech.”
On the same day that her post supporting the rally in New York City was censored, Sarandon shared the post by “Censored Men” on Thursday which shows a father and son injured by an Israeli airstrike on Rafah, Gaza seeking medical attention. The post says, “Yes, Rafah. You know that area Israel told all residents to evacuate to, because they’ll be ‘safe’ there? Yes, Israel is indiscriminately bombing that area too.”
Acting on behalf of the ruling political parties and the military in the US and Israel, Elon Musk’s Twitter/X is attempting to contain the spread of mass opposition to the crime of ethnic cleansing being carried out in Gaza and using social media tools of censorship to do so. The attempt to silence outspoken celebrities such as Susan Sarandon is being mounted out of fear and desperation.
It is particularly significant that the graphic which is being suppressed on Sarandon’s newsfeed refers to “workers” demanding an end to the bombing of Palestinians. It is above all a movement of the working class against the barbarism being unleashed on Gaza that the ruling class fears more than anything else.
The continued support for Palestinians expressed by the actress is particularly significant given the McCarthy-style witch-hunt that has been unleashed upon her. As explained previously here on the WSWS, spurious and slanderous claims of antisemitism have been made against Susan Sarandon and Mexican-born actress Melissa Barrera.
On November 21, celebrity news headlines enthusiastically reported that Sarandon had been dropped by her talent agency UTA for recent “antisemitic remarks.” This slander was based on carefully edited clips of comments that she made at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York City, where she said that some American Jews were now afraid of public criticism and were “getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.” She followed this up with the warning that it is important for people to think about their actions and, “It’s important to listen, it’s important to have facts.”
In the case of Barrera, she was fired from the Scream horror movie franchise for speaking out against the Zionist atrocities in Gaza and calling them “genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Spyglass Media Group equates these statements with antisemitism and made the sanctimonious claim that references to genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza were synonymous with Holocaust denial.