This week trouble looms for Rep. Ocasio-Cortez in the form of two lawsuits filed which accused her of blocking Americans for their opposing political stances. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has 4.7 million followers on her personal Twitter account, @AOC, which she uses to frequently discuss policy and advocate her proposals, such as the Green New Deal and her belief that the camps holding children and other undocumented immigrants seeking asylum at the Texas border are “concentration camps.”
Hikind, a former assemblyman from Brooklyn who is the founder of Americans Against Anti-Semitism, said he regularly replied to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets, but was blocked on July 8.
Joseph Saladino, a YouTube personality known as “Joey Salads” who is running for a congressional seat representing Brooklyn and Staten Island, said he was blocked on May 9.
But because Ms. Ocasio-Cortez uses the account to discuss policies that affect them, she cannot use it to “suppress contrary views” and violate his First Amendment rights to free speech, Mr. Hikind said in his lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.
“It’s very clear based on the court’s ruling that A.O.C. is violating my constitutional rights to free speech by excluding me,” Mr. Hikind said in an interview. “She doesn’t want me to be a part of the discussion and conversation.”
Mr. Hikind said he was blocked after criticizing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for her concentration camp comments. “She has a right to have that position. That’s not the issue. The question is why is she afraid of other people’s positions?” he added. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the firebrand political star known for using her social media savvy to champion her progressive policies, has apologized to the former elected leader from Brooklyn who sued her.
“I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement released on Monday. “Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them.”
The apology was made as part of a settlement agreement in the lawsuit, which was filed by Mr. Hikind in July after a federal appeals panel ruled that President Trump, one of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s frequent detractors, had violated the Constitution when he blocked people from following him on Twitter after they criticized him.
The three-judge panel said that because Mr. Trump used his Twitter account to conduct government business, he could not bar some Americans from reading his posts or interacting with them. Mr. Hikind, a former assemblyman from Brooklyn who founded a nonprofit group that works to fight anti-Semitism, had engaged repeatedly with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s posts, frequently criticizing her.
He said that he was blocked after he assailed her over remarks she made comparing migrant detention centers at the Texas-Mexico border to concentration camps.
“Suddenly, I could not be part of the conversation,” Mr. Hikind said on Monday. “I could not share my thoughts. My mouth was closed, shut. I could not respond.” In the lawsuit, Mr. Hikind said that by denying him access to her posts on Twitter, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had violated his First Amendment rights to free speech.
On Monday, in her apology, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said that blocking Mr. Hikind “was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish.” Just one day before Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was scheduled to testify in Brooklyn federal court in the case, was the apology made public.