Twitter permanently banned David Duke late Thursday, citing a violation of the company’s policy on hate speech.
Duke was a former “grand wizard” of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the 1970s, and a former Louisiana State Representative from 1989 to 1992.
The company said Friday that Duke’s account had “been permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter rules on hateful conduct.”
Under Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, any threats or attacks directed at people on the basis of their religion, race, or ethnicity are prohibited. The company did not say what specific posts prompted the ban.
Duke joined Twitter in September 2009 and had around 53,000 followers before his account was suspended.
According to the New York Post, Duke’s final Twitter post promised to expose the “systemic racism lie” and showed a link to an interview with Germar Rudolf, a convicted Holocaust denier.
Duke said on Friday that he didn’t know what triggered the suspension but planned to appeal it, reported Nola.com. He also said that he is not a proponent of violence against racial minorities, and accused Twitter of “suppressing free speech,” according to the outlet.
The Twitter ban comes after YouTube banned Duke in June. Last year, the company updated its hate speech policy to “specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.”
Duke has a bachelor’s degree in history from Louisiana State University (LSU) and a doctorate from the Inter-Regional Academy of Personnel Management in Ukraine.
Shortly after graduating from LSU, he founded the Knights of the KKK, a Louisiana-based chapter of the KKK, in 1974 and was its leader, or “grand wizard,” until 1978.
He told the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph in 2009 that he left the KKK in 1980 because he didn’t like its associations with violence and could not stop the members of other Klan chapters from doing “stupid or violent things.”
Duke later served in the Louisiana State House as a Republican from 1989 to 1992.
In a statement on his website in 2015, he wrote, “I am not KKK, and I have had no association with any Klan group for four decades,” and later commented on the media outlets’ portrayal of him, saying it is unfair to condemn him for his associations as a young man “when one considers that many people in politics also evolved from controversy in their early days.”
In his writings, he has repeatedly denounced what he calls the “Zionist-influenced, globalist media,” which he calls the “greatest enemies of mankind.”
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.