NEWS ARCHIVES

Missouri Attorney General Files Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Lawsuit Challenging Social-Media Censorship

Jun 14, 2022, 15:20 PM by AG Schmitt
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a motion for preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against President Biden and other top-ranking government officials for allegedly colluding with social media giants such as Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to censor and suppress free speech.
“Freedom of speech is the very bedrock of this great nation, and needs to be protected and preserved. The federal government’s alleged attempts to collude with social media companies to censor free speech should terrify Missourians and Americans alike. Recently, my Office filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration for that alleged collusion, and today we’re filing a motion for preliminary injunction to put a stop to it,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “We may have forced the Biden Administration to forego its Disinformation Governance Board, but there is still a very real threat to Missourians and Americans’ right to free speech. The federal government must be halted from silencing any more Americans, and this motion for preliminary injunction intends to do just that.”

The motion argues that the government-led online censorship affects enormous segments of the American population. It encompasses social-media accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers, including many thousands of followers in Missouri and Louisiana, from bloggers such as A.J. Kay, to conservative talk radio shows like NewsTalkSTL. It even affects highly credentialed physicians, speaking on matters of core competence, such as Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Aaron Kheriaty.

The motion also asserts that the censorship affects speech on matters of enormous public concern, including “unquestionably truthful speech”, such as speech relating to COVID-19 policies and speech about election security and election integrity.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a former Professor of Medicine, and current Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University, stated in his affidavit that he faced de-boosting and outright removal of posts concerning his publication of The Great Barrington Declaration, which criticized the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and was signed by thousands of medical professionals. This occurred after an email from former NIH Director Francis Collins to Dr. Anthony Fauci was discovered, that stated, “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of the premises. Is it underway?” Dr. Bhattacharya also participated in a roundtable with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about how children should not be masked during COVID-19; YouTube removed the video of the roundtable.

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist and former Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, stated in his declaration that he was a co-author with Dr. Bhattacharya of The Great Barrington Declaration and participated in the COVID-19 roundtable, and faced subsequent censorship on his social media accounts for his participation in the projects. LinkedIn also censored several of his posts, and eventually, terminated his account after he publicly disagreed with the government’s favored COVID-19 policy.  

Jeff Allen, the President of Programming for NewsTalkSTL, a popular news talk radio station in the St. Louis, Missouri region, testified in his affidavit that YouTube struck his content for COVID-related and election-related “misinformation.” YouTube also blatantly removed a show for its supposed violation of the “medical misinformation policy.” On March 21, 2022, after NewsTalkSTL posted a segment discussing how Americans are concerned about the security of U.S. elections, YouTube removed NewsTalkSTL’s channel from the platform for “severe or repeated violations.”

Through the declarations of these and other notable individuals, the motion explains how the federal government has colluded with its social media counterparts to shadow-ban, de-platform, de-monetize, de-boost, restrict content access, and suspend many speakers, both temporarily and permanently. This group of silenced individuals ranges from doctors and scientists, to the owner of a conservative radio show, to everyday Americans who dare to voice their opinion in the public sphere.

The motion for preliminary injunction can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/doc-11-1---plaintiffs-mis-of-motion-for-pi.pdf?sfvrsn=75b49d9e_2

The original petition can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/mo-la-v-biden-filed-petition.pdf?sfvrsn=3d20bca5_2.