Did y’all know that if you’re a public official, you can be sued for blocking a detractor on social media? I didn’t know that. You didn’t know that.
Former Dekalb County CEO and current CEO of Sunken Trump-Humpin’ Inc. (I might have made that up) Vernon Jones just found out the hard way that blocking a constituent on Facebook reads as censorship if one is a public servant.
According to WSB-TV, a federal judge has ordered Jones to pay $45,652 in damages and legal fees to a man he blocked from his Facebook page because the two got into one of, like, a bazillion political debates had on Facebook at any given time—and one Jones apparently grew disinterested in continuing so he invited his comment section rival to join his non-partisan BLOCK party.
Jones blocked DeKalb County resident Tomas Miko from his Facebook page after they exchanged comments and political opinions in 2020 when Jones was a state representative.
After the exchange, Jones deleted Miko’s comments.
Miko filed a federal lawsuit against Jones, claiming Jones deleted Miko’s comments to silence his criticism.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Grimberg said in a decision issued last year, that when public figures block constituents from their social media profiles to prevent them from expressing opposing viewpoints, that constitutes “viewpoint discrimination.”
On Tuesday, Grimberg awarded $8,000 to Miko for compensatory damages.
Grimberg also ordered Jones to pay $37,652 in costs and legal fees to Miko’s attorneys.
Who knows what Jones and Miko were even arguing about? It’s not hard to imagine how simple a thing it is to get under the skin of a Black man who thinks “straight white males deserve a Pride Month,” so trying to narrow down what made Jones block a constituent is futile.
There was that time when he stormed off set during an interview with right-wing podcaster Stew Peters, who grilled him about being sued by white men accusing him of racially discriminating against white people while he was a Democrat and Dekalb County’s first Black CEO. There was also that time the GOP prop stormed out of a GOP event after throwing a tantrum because his political opponent at the time was set to *checks notes* speak after him.
So, basically, Jones — who is similar in nature to the type of partisan “prop” whose Blackness is politically weaponized by Republicans — storms out of places because reality doesn’t have a block button. I’m just going to assume he can’t be sued for that.
Or can he?