Austin Petersen, a candidate in the Republican Party's primary for the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, said he was banned from Twitter for 12 hours.
Petersen posted about the ban on his Facebook page.
The ban was announced following an exchange between Petersen and a writer for ShareBlue Media, which bills itself of "an American progressive news Website."
In an initial tweet, the writer alluded to Petersen announcing he was accepting bitcoin contributions for his campaign and how Russia used bitcoin to allegedly fund online hacking. Interesting timing here: Russian hackers targeted Claire McCaskill in Aug 2017. The next month, one of her GOP opponents in Missouri rolled out this new ad...(As we learned in the DOJ indictment, Russia used bitcoin to fund many of its illicit online activities in 2016). pic.twitter.com/gzxip1unQf— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) July 27, 2018In a tweet that has since been deleted, Petersen tweeted a GIF of former Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin with the phrase "off to the Gulag" in response to the writer's tweet.
Petersen called the tweet a "humorous" response after ShareBlue accused him as "colluding with Russia in a recent hack attempt" against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
His full statement: "Twitter and Democratic aligned super PACs are interfering with the federal senate race in Missouri by temporarily blocking my account due to a picture I shared which was located within Twitter's own GIF file collection. ShareBlue, a Democratic Super PAC, attempted to paint me as colluding with Russia in a recent hack attempt on my opponent Senator Claire McCaskill simply because my campaign accepts Bitcoin, a digital crypto currency. Responding to the attack with a humorous photo of Stalin waving, Democrats seized on this as if it were a credible threat, mass reporting my account and having it restricted for 12 hours. This action is deeply troubling and deserves national attention now, with the Missouri primary 7 days away, having a candidate silenced is a threat to American democracy." Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.