Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, joined by two state legislators, launched an attack against the free speech social media platform Gab on Wednesday, promoting legislation that reportedly “fights antisemitism” in the Lone Star State.
“Antisemitic platforms like Gab have no place in Texas and certainly do not represent Texas values,” the Republican said in a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday. In the clip, Abbott is shown sitting in front of an Israeli flag. “What does represent Texas values is legislation like this by Rep. King and Rep. Goldman that fights antisemitism in Texas.”
Anti-Semitic platforms do not represent Texas values.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) March 11, 2021
It is unclear which legislation Abbott is referencing. While Rep. Craig Goldman recently introduced a bill discussing the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Advisory Committee, the bill does not mention Gab nor antisemitism.
Gab defended itself by directly responding to Abbott’s tweet and explaining how it supports “the political speech of all Americans.”
“Gab is not an ‘anti-semitic’ platform,” the social media company replied. “We protect the political speech of all Americans, regardless of viewpoint, because in this age of cancel culture nobody else will. That means unpopular viewpoints may be found on the site.”
Gab’s CEO also blasted the governor for targeting the company for no apparent reason.
“There are many Jewish Gab users and customers, whose lawful speech we protect with just as much zeal as we would protect the lawful speech of any person of any faith, ethnicity, or creed,” Andrew Torba said in a statement topped with a header resembling Texas’s unofficial but popular “come and take it” flag design. “This is what America used to be like: a place where The People could speak freely regardless of their faith, ethnic background, or beliefs. This is the America Gab is fighting to preserve. Apparently, Gov. Abbott doesn’t agree.”
Torba also noted how the governor is sending mixed messages by denouncing Gab, a social media platform dedicated to free speech, just days after he announced legislation meant to curb Big Tech’s efforts to censor or deplatform users they disagree with, specifically conservatives.
“The enemies of freedom smear us with every name in the book because they hate America and they hate free speech. It’s a shame to see a GOP politician fall for this trap when conservative values are under sustained attack all over the country,” Torba continued. “People smear Gab for the kinds of people we host. They never smear Gab for the kinds of people we ban. That’s because we don’t have political tests for our users. Ban decisions are made on an individual basis. Our test for political speech is whether it is legal or not. Pretty simple rule.”