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The Twitter account for the anti-abortion movie Unplanned was briefly suspended on Saturday, but has since been restored to Twitter.
After several users screenshotted notices of the suspension on the service and tagged Twitter and its co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, the account returned. “Thank you everyone for your support in letting @Jack & @Twitter know when our Unplanned Movie account was recently suspended without cause. We are back and excited for the great response we’re getting in theaters this weekend. #grateful,” read its first tweet after the disappearance.
According to Twitter, Unplanned was not suspended on purpose, but rather was linked to another account that had violated Twitter’s rules. When one account violates those rules, the system then cracks down on linked accounts to mitigate the risk that the original banned account would simply move accounts. After reviewing this case a second time, Twitter decided the Unplanned account should not be affected by the other’s suspension and restored it.
“It is a sad time we live in when corporations can remove individuals freedom of speech at will. When did we empower these corporations to have such authority? More importantly, why do we empower them to do so?” Cary Solomon, co-writer and co-director of the film, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Added co-director and co-writer Chuck Konzelman: “It’s a sad state of affairs when the right to free speech gets shut down with the flick of a switch. The Twitter account for our film, Unplanned, was suspended this morning — without explanation. Whether this was an executive decision by Twitter, or a reaction by Twitter to complaints from those opposed to the pro-life viewpoint, either reason is unacceptable. Fortunately, the uproar in our defense was loud and fast in coming: Our account has since been reinstated. Thanks to all who have rallied to our defense.”
Unplanned, released by the Christian-focused company Pure Flix, is based on the 2009 memoir of the same name by former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson. The film follows Johnson’s rise at the clinic until she witnesses an abortion at 13 weeks and becomes a pro-life activist.
Pure Flix has experienced difficulties marketing the movie on TV networks, ad buyers told THR. According to those buyers, Lifetime, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV, Food Network, Hallmark Channel and USA Networks all declined to run ads for the film. “We were looking to spend money, but they didn’t want to get involved,” John Sullivan, a producer for Unplanned, told THR. Fox News and the Christian Broadcast Network accepted ads.
In its opening weekend at the box office, Unplanned has so far overperformed, earning $3 million from 1,059 theaters on Friday; it is projected the film will take in $6 million over the weekend.
March 30, 12:01 p.m. Updated to include Twitter’s explanation of the account’s brief suspension.
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