Twitter permanently suspended the account of Carpe Donktum, a meme creator who is famous for making videos in support of President Donald Trump.
The social media network confirmed the ban late Tuesday in a statement to multiple media outlets, citing “repeated violations” of copyright.
“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives,” the statement read. “The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of this policy.”
The Carpe Donktum Twitter account had more than 273,000 followers before it was suspended. The president has previously shared some of Donktum’s Twitter posts. Last year, Trump invited the meme creator to the White House social media summit, held in July.
Following the Twitter suspension, Carpe Donktum issued a statement asserting that it was due to a video he edited that Trump shared on June 18. The memesmith said he had received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice for the video.
“I received a DMCA takedown order this morning for that video, and a few hours later a suspension letter,” he wrote. “Twitter has not provided me with any avenue to get my account back, so I assume they intend this to be final and permanent.”
He maintains that he has always complied with DMCA takedown rules and has never uploaded content that has been removed.
“I have abided by the community guidelines, and followed the rules. It doesn’t matter. I have been banned for being effective and they won’t even look me in the eye as they do it,” he added.
“The [toddler] video was and is public domain and protected by the law under satire and parody,” the memesmith said in a separate statement.
Trump shared the video edited by Carpe Donktum on June 18 on Twitter. The Twitter post had more than 14 million views by early June 19.
The beginning of the video shows a black toddler running in the same direction as a white toddler, and featured a mock chyron that read “Breaking News: Terrified Toddler Runs From Racist Baby.” The chyron was made to look as though it was broadcast on CNN, and the video played to dramatic, alarming music.
What followed in the same video was a full clip of the toddlers—the two toddlers ran toward each other and hugged before both started running in the same direction. The full clip played a cover of The Carpenters’ “Close to You” in the background. The two toddlers, Maxwell and Finnegan, are best friends in New York City.
The video ends with the message: “America is not the problem. Fake news is. If you see something, say something. Only you can prevent fake news dumpster fires.”
The hashtag #parler began trending on Twitter across the United States within hours after Carpe Donktum’s account was suspended, with multiple Twitter users encouraging a switch to Parler, a social network regarded as an alternative to Twitter that was launched in August 2018.
Some users using the hashtag cited Carpe Donktum’s account suspension as their reason to urge for a switch to Parler, while others cited a warning that Twitter recently added to a Trump Twitter post that was addressing an attempted “autonomous zone” in Washington, D.C.
In the early hours of Tuesday, Carpe Donktum issued a notification on his Parler account, saying: “I have NOT created a backup Twitter account. Any account claiming to be me is a fraud. If I can’t have my own account, I will have none.”
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, criticized Twitter’s suspension of Carpe Donktum as one that seeks to censor conservative views. In a statement on Twitter he wrote, “It’s clear [that Twitter and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey] are engaging in a dedicated campaign to shut down conservative voices as we get closer to the election.”
“Twitter claiming he [Carpe Donktum] violated ‘copyright infringement’ on videos that are public domain or clearly parodies covered by fair use is beyond fraudulent,” Trump Jr. added.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.