Nigerian-born Prof’s Distasteful Tweet about Queen Elizabeth II and Twitter’s Double Standards on Censorship
When the news broke on Sept. 8, 2022 that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s health was a source of concern to her physicians, a Nigerian-born professor of Applied Linguistics at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Uju Anya, posted a tweet that has received considerable backlash.
The tweet read as follows:
“I heard that the monarch of a thieving raping genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.”
One of those who called her out for the sentiments her tweet expressed was the billionaire CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. In reply to her tweet, Bezos asked, “This is someone supposedly working to make the world better?” His tweet, added, “I don’t think so. Wow.”
Bezos’ reply drew more attention to Anya’s tweet which was reported by thousands of users to Twitter. The platform then removed it for violating its Community Standards.
My focus in this post is on how low this lady who is supposed to be an example to the young went in her defence of wishing evil on the queen for Britain’s colonial past and the slap on the wrist she received from Twitter.
When confronted on her tweet, Anya doubled down with further tweets, one of which is reproduced below:
“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing on a star.”
In response to Bezos’ mildly-worded rebuke, she unleashed this vulgar abuse on him:
“Otoro gba gbue gi. May everyone you and your merciless greed have harmed in this world remember you as fondly as I remember my colonizers.”
To someone else who said, “Ewww you stink,” her clapback was, “You mean like your p**sy.” She had similar responses in colourful language for many other Twitter users who reprimanded her.
This is a gross way of expressing oneself and it’s shocking coming from an academic on a public forum. It certainly isn’t the way Nigerians, and Ndi Igbo, the ethnic group she comes from which suffered numerous atrocities during the Nigerian Civil War, want to be perceived. We have enough trouble with the huge stain on our International image from internet fraudsters, widespread insecurity at home and large-scale corruption in our government. We don’t need a bitter lady in the Diaspora to further tip the scales against us.
While many like-minded people jumped to Anya’s defence with various anti-colonial and slavery rants, many others opined that her original tweet was insensitive and inhuman. Others pointed out how ill-timed the complaints about British foreign policy were and the irrationality of bearing grudges and playing the victim decades after colonisation and Nigeria’s Civil War were over. Even some Nigerians and Igbos tweeted that she had no home training, others told her that they have moved past the blame game she was playing and she mocked them as folks who read “too much Enid Blyton and not enough CLR James”.
A look at Anya’s Twitter profile explains her arrogance and tone deafness. She proclaims herself to be antiracist, feminist and has pride flags in her bio. She is, therefore, a good example of today’s progressive- exhibiting tunnel vision, always playing the victim, blaming others, and spewing hate while pretending to be loving and inclusive.
Thankfully, her university has dissociated itself from her tweets in these words:
“We do not condone the offensive and objectionable messages posted by Uju Anya today on her personal social media account. Free expression is core to the mission of higher education, however, the views she shared absolutely do not represent the values of the institution, nor the standards of discourse we seek to foster.”
A lot of people are not satisfied though and they are calling for her cancellation- you know, loss of job, banishment from Twitter …. If I were in her shoes, I would not like to lose my job for being so obnoxious on Twitter over a matter like this. Many people have expressed similar views to hers but they are not under fire like this. She could have aired her views with more class, civility and sensitivity because think what you will of the British government past and present, Queen Elizabeth II was widely loved across the world and millions who never even met her consider her passing a personal loss.
This brings me to the issue of Twitter’s uneven application of its Community Standards. Twitter is neck deep in one-sided censorship. Anyone on the platform knows that Christians and conservatives are treated much more harshly there than people of other faiths, liberals and progressives in its content moderation.
Twitter protects left-leaning folks and comes down hard on right-leaning folks. If someone on the right committed Anya’s infraction, Twitter would not have deleted the tweet and dropped the matter. It would have ordered them to delete the offending tweet and if they didn’t, they would have been suspended. The case of the Babylon Bee, the satirical website, readily comes to mind. Its account was suspended for refusing to delete a tweet stating that the US Secretary of Health, Rachel Devine, is actually a man.
Twitter has devoted itself to promoting progressive values and punishing those who espouse conservative and traditional values. So the platform will kick you out for misgendering or deadnaming a trans person but ignore actual threats and incitement to violence against Christians and conservatives. If you support abortion, you’re good no matter how far you go to hurt those who are pro-life, but if you are pro-life, you are silenced for stating your views as vehemently as the other side.
Some conservatives have their accounts restricted or temporarily locked for vulgar abuse. This lady had two more tweets, possibly her crude replies to people on this matter, removed without any apparent consequence. Any conservative that Twitter finds guilty of “repeated violations” will have a different story to tell. Some are punished in diverse ways or expelled entirely without any explanation, not to mention the endless shadow banning plus the whittling down of likes, retweets, comments and following.
On a final note, I would advise anyone on Twitter and other social media to take a break from time to time to prevent you from losing your humanity and degenerating into a cruel, uncaring monster under the guise of fighting for your political, racial, ethnic or religious group.
Postscript: Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch of Great Britain and head of the Commonwealth of Nations, passed away on the 8th of September, 2022, at the age of 96. She had been on the throne for 70 years.
70 years a queen
With wisdom and dignity she reigned
No more to be seen
But in our hearts she’ll be still revered
RIP, Your Majesty!
Otoro gba gbue gi is an Igbo curse which literally means may you die of purging (a reference to diarrhoea or dysentry).
Update: Twitter later put Uju Anya in Twitter ‘jail’ for 5 days following continued outrage concerning her tweet discussed above. The sentence expired on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. This does not, however, absolve the platform of culpability as charged in this post. It yielded to persistent public pressure on this matter but enforces swift penalties on Conservatives, even without users’ input.