Rapper Talib Kweli banned from Twitter after dispute with woman

Kweli has been suspended for ‘repeated violations of Twitter rules’, but denies harassing Maya Moody on the platform

The US rapper Talib Kweli has been barred from Twitter after sending dozens of messages to a woman, Maya Moody, on the platform.

Twitter told the website Jezebel that it had permanently suspended Kweli’s account for “repeated violations of the Twitter rules … Violence, harassment and other similar types of behaviour discourage people from expressing themselves.” The account had been suspended in late July, with Kweli claiming he had moved over to the website Patreon.

In an email to Jezebel, Kweli denied harassing Moody: “I’ve never cyber harassed anyone in my life. I responded, on Twitter, to the lies that Maya posted about me. When you respond to someone who posts lies about you, that is not harassment.”

The dispute began on 9 July after Kweli responded to a tweet Moody had made about another tweet listing rappers married to black women, including Kweli. “Literally almost all of them are married to lightskinned [black] women but that’s a conversation for another day,” she said.

Kweli responded, “Nah let’s have this convo today … I mean, is any of this really any of your business?”, beginning a series of critical tweets over a two-week period, as well as posting messages on Instagram. He accused her of hypocrisy over her race comments, and of sympathising with white supremacists. Moody was subsequently targeted by other users, who made threats of violence and sexual abuse against her on Twitter, which she reposted with screenshots. Personal details, including photos of her parents, were also published on Twitter. Moody described the experience to Jezebel as “draining and overwhelming”.

Responding to Kweli on Twitter, Moody repeated allegations against Kweli that had been made online that Kweli had previously described as a false story from someone “trolling me out of the blue”.

Moody also cited a case where a musical collaborator, Res, had sued Kweli for sexual harassment, which he denied. The claim was later dismissed by the judge in the case. Kweli was also the target of abuse after his phone number was published online.

The rapper Noname had criticised Kweli during his frequent messages to Moody, saying on Twitter: “The silence from male rappers while talib kweli harassed black women for weeks, disgusting”.

Moody complained that Twitter took too long to respond to the alleged harassment, saying other users had “been suspended for way less than targeting someone and harassing them constantly for over two weeks straight”.

Her comments come after Twitter was also criticised for inaction over the UK rapper Wiley, who posted a stream of antisemitic tweets. He was permanently suspended five days later, following a boycott of the platform by a number of prominent users protesting against the company’s slow response, and criticism from Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.

Kweli’s hip-hop career stretches back over 20 years. He is best known for the duo Black Star with Mos Def, and has collaborated with artists including Kanye West and J Dilla.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp