A news outlet has pointed to an obscure civil rights law already on the books that could be a silver bullet for Big Tech censorship. The law forbids discrimination on the basis of an individual’s political beliefs.
As conservatives have scrambled to launch legislation that will protect free speech online, “few seem to realize that an anti-discrimination law already on the books could spell big trouble for big tech companies that engage in political censorship,“ Mind Matters News (MM News) reported Feb. 16. “Ironically, the law was enacted by one of the most politically progressive cities in the country: Seattle. Unlike most political jurisdictions in the United States, Seattle expressly forbids discrimination on the basis of ‘political ideology.’” MM News made clear that not only Amazon but also “Facebook and Apple” have “physical offices and employees in Seattle” and could be subject to this law. If action were to be taken, “Seattle could soon become ground zero in the battle against big tech.”
“[A]ny idea or belief, or coordinated body of ideas or beliefs, relating to the purpose, conduct, organization, function or basis of government and related institutions and activities, whether or not characteristic of any political party or group. This term includes membership in a political party or group and includes conduct, reasonably related to political ideology, which does not interfere with job performance.”
Journalist, author, and One America News Network Political Correspondent Ryan J. Girdusky said he would mention the article in a Clubhouse broadcast. “Unlike other laws, this doesn’t just include discrimination when it comes to hiring but also ‘Fair Contracting Practices Ordinance,’” Girdusky said in his newsletter. These rules apply to contractors “wholly or partly performed within The City of Seattle.”
MM News speculated that “The potential reach of Seattle’s law is breathtaking” and illuminated a profound distinction: “A person doesn’t necessarily have to live in Seattle or even Washington State in order to file legal action under the law.”
MM News recounted how Amazon Web Services nuked the free speech platform Parler by refusing to allow it access to its servers. However, “Seattle’s anti-discrimination law would seem to supply Parler with another basis to sue Amazon in Washington State court,” MM News explained.
Technically, “Amazon could cancel its contract with Parler for hosting ‘content… that encourages and incites violence against others,’ but only if Amazon applied this standard in the same way to everyone without regard to political ideology,” MM News stated. “Amazon could not discriminate by adopting one standard for politically conservative customers and another for politically progressive customers.”
MM News followed up by making a key comparison that could provide leverage against Amazon in court. “In December 2020, it was announced that Twitter would begin using Amazon Web Services. Twitter has been accused of not adequately policing violent content on its own platform, especially violent content from the political left. If Amazon Web Services treats Twitter more leniently than Parler, it could provide evidence that its actions against Parler were discriminatory.”
Conservatives are under attack. Contact Amazon at (206) 266-1000, or by mail to 410 Terry Avenue North Seattle, WA 98109, and demand that Amazon support the ideals of the First Amendment. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.