Sen. Steve Daines was back on Twitter Tuesday afternoon after the social media behemonth suspended his account because it displayed a picture of the lawmaker and his wife Cindy posing with an antelope they had hunted.
“My wife is a great shot. What can I say?” Daines (R-Mont.) said in a statement.
Twitter blocked Daines’ account on Monday, saying his profile photo violated its “rules against graphic violence or adult content in profile images.”
”The Senator thinks it’s preposterous that a picture of him and his wife hunting — an activity that is engrained in the Montana way of life — would be against Twitter rules,” the senator’s office said, noting that the picture showed a Montana antelope. “Our team has reached out to Twitter, and we’ll be working to get this resolved.”
The senator’s office said Twitter initially informed them that once the image was replaced, the “account will be immediately accessible again.”
“We don’t allow images of dead animals or blood in profile photos because we are unable to label them as NSFW and keep them from being seen by users who specifically don’t want to see graphic images, including minors,” a Twitter rep said at the time.
Daines’ Republican colleagues rallied behind him with the hashtag #FreeSteveDaines, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Daines chairs.
“This is insane. Twitter should immediately reverse this suspension,” NRSC spokesman Philip Letsou said in a statement.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Daines was in “Twitter jail” over censorship.
“Ridiculous. My friend @SteveDaines is in @Twitter jail for posting this pic w/ his wife Cindy. If you don’t like hunting, fine, don’t go. But don’t censor others who disagree,” he said.
“And I’m pretty sure this is a formal job responsibility for a senator from Montana!,” Cruz added, linking to the photo of Daines and his wife.
Daines’ fellow Montana Republican, Rep. Ryan Zinke, praised Cindy’s aim.
“This is the family photo that got @SteveDaines put in twitter jail. Stop censoring our Montana way of life! Great shot, Cindy!,” he said on Twitter.
The outcry eventually drew the attention of Twitter owner Elon Musk, who said the issue was “being fixed.”
This is being fixed. Policy against showing blood in profile pic is being amended to “clearly showing blood without clicking on the profile pic”.
The intent is to avoid people being forced to see gruesome profile pics.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2023
“Policy against showing blood in profile pic is being amended to ‘clearly showing blood without clicking on the profile pic’,” the billionaire added. “The intent is to avoid people being forced to see gruesome profile pics.”
Republicans have long criticized Twitter for wielding a heavy hand over opinions and comments from conservative voices, but believed that Musk would change how the tech giant deals with censorship when he took over last fall.
Musk, beginning last December, released internal communications among the company’s executives about its decisions to flag some posts as misinformation, including The Post’s expose in October 2020 about first son Hunter Biden’s shady overseas business dealings.
Last spring when Musk was pursuing a takeover of Twitter, he posted about what free speech means to him.
“By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law,” he said in March.
“If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”