Academic and cultural commentator James Lindsay was briefly suspended from posting on the platform after he called a Media Matters employee a groomer. In screenshots shared by Lindsay on late Thursday, the commentator was forced to delete his tweet and wait for twelve hours to regain full access to his account.
As detailed in the screenshots, Lindsay wrote “Ok, groomer” in response to Ari Drennen, the LGBTQ program director at MMfA, who criticized an article published in the Daily Caller about the organization’s campaign to censor use of the term.
Lindsay was temporarily banned for “hateful conduct” in violation of Twitter’s guidelines.
“Accusing people of harming children with no basis is extremely dangerous,” wrote the MMfA contributor. “Three weeks again, Lindsay directed his little groomer bit at a library holding a drag queen story hour. Proud boys showed up three days later with signs about groomers and a rifle.”
According to Urban Dictionary, the term “groomer,” when used colloquially, refers to “someone who builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.”
Commentators have used the term to describe teachers who expose very young children to sexual content, including age-inappropriate books on sexuality, and Drag Queen Story Hour shows. The term does not explicitly refer to individuals who sexually abuse children.
Speaking to the Daily Caller, Lindsay said that he uses the term to refer to sexually predatory grooming and ideological grooming into “queer Marxist ideology.”
Even before conservatives latched onto the term, it was used by the Department of Education in 2017 report warning that public school employees “groom” then commit “adult sexual misconduct” against 10 per cent of all K-12 students, as detailed by investigative journalist Christopher Rufo.
“They define ‘grooming’ as the process of isolating and manipulating a child,” wrote Rufo.