Arizona congressman unblocks woman on social media after lawsuit
PHOENIX — An Arizona congressman unblocked a woman on social media Wednesday after she filed a lawsuit against him claiming the block went against her First Amendment rights.
Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted that he would allow Kingman resident J’aime Morgaine to comment on his Facebook page.
In a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM, Gosar said he unblocked Morgaine because “everyone deserves a second chance.”
“We continue to ask that everyone honor our rules of conduct by abstaining from the use of profanity, ad hominem attacks, hate speech and spamming,” the statement continued. “Other than that, enjoy the graphics, updates and conversation.”
Gosar — who also has staff read mean tweets and posts the videos online — began blocking people in July. Hundreds of users were still blocked as of Wednesday.
“We saw it with Steve Scalise,” Gosar said. “We saw a gentleman going so far in regards to not allowing comparability or even acknowledging somebody else’s thought process and ideas in an coherent aspect and then taking charge in a very counterproductive way, in violence.”
In a July tweet, Gosar wrote he would rather see people use Facebook to contact him about issues that matter rather than just spewing hateful language.
“If you would like to voice your concern, there are plenty of places for you to do so, including my Facebook,” he wrote. “But the moment you become disrespectful to me or my staff with crude language or distasteful discourse, you lose the opportunity to do so.
“Commenting on my Facebook is a privilege, not a right.”
Gosar echoed that thinking in the Vice interview, saying he had the right to block people because “It’s my Facebook.”
Morgaine disagreed. Though she admitted to using profanity on the page on at least one occasion, she told the Kingman Daily Miner that blocking users unfairly stops constituents from reaching Gosar.
“It’s a public constituent feedback forum, and he’s picking and choosing who can post,” she told the paper. “That’s why I filed a lawsuit.”
Over the summer, Gosar wrote the argument that he was unconstitutionally preventing certain people from speaking their minds was hogwash.
“Your First Amendment right are fully intact: If you think a block on Facebook is infringing upon your constitutional right to petition the government, you are sorely mistaken,” he wrote.
Gosar wrote he encouraged people who have something to say can contact his office through other means.
“You want to petition the government? Terrific. Call my office and file a complaint. Write me a letter spelling out your grievances,” he wrote.
KTAR News’ Corbin Carson contributed to this report.
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