At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds
At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Apparently it was all a big misunderstanding. 

During his routine morning check of local lawmakers’ social media handles, Fox5 journalist Van Applegate noticed that he had been blocked from viewing D.C. Councilmember Anita Bonds‘ official Twitter account, @AnitaBondsDC.

“It’s just strange we’re in a place where politicians can just cease all contact and willy nilly shut people down,” Applegate tells LL. “I don’t know how long I’ve been blocked by her.”

A Twitter-block essentially restricts a person from viewing an account’s activity and takes two clicks to complete.

Curiously, Applegate says he’s only had occasional interactions with Bonds and has interviewed her in person once, a conversation he describes as “cordial.”

Bonds’ spokesman, Emmanuel Brantley, was not aware Applegate had been blocked and says that he’s fixed the problem. He says he and Bonds have access to the account.

Accident or not, blocking a journalist on Twitter isn’t going to help Bonds’ social media grade.

And restricting the public’s access to social media accounts reminds LL of another politician in D.C.

President Donald Trump has blocked several people from his @realDonaldTrump account in an apparent attempt to silence critics.

Among the many who’ve found themselves the targets of Trump’s twitchy blocking thumb are novelist Stephen King, president of Media Matter for America Angelo Carusone, journalist Lauren Wolfe, and country music artist Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan), who was blocked after she channeled the Pope’s reaction to seeing the president.

Some people who Trump blocked accused him of violating their First Amendment rights in a lawsuit filed in 2017. A judge ruled last year that Trump could not block critics on Twitter because doing so effectively banishes them from a public forum “and blocking [them] based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.”