Ted Cruz stands all alone with his gross beard during a senate hearing.

Twitter Temporarily Suspended That Vile Anti-Abortion Movie & Now Ted Cruz Is Getting the Senate Involved

What a great use of their time.

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The anti-abortion cinematic atrocity Unplanned had a big weekend. In addition to having its opening weekend in theaters, it got a boost from Mike Pence, tweeted out some conspiracy theory propaganda, and sparked a quasi-conspiracy theory of its own.

On Saturday, the movie’s official account was briefly suspended, prompting the film’s creators and supporters to cry liberal censorship. While it turned out that account hadn’t violated any of Twitter’s rules (and was thus reinstated), another account that was linked to the movie’s account had. When one account is suspended, Twitter also cracks down on linked accounts to keep violators from creating new pages. After the account was reinstated, some users said they were unable to re-follow it. That seems to have now been fixed and maybe it’s just my liberal bias speaking, but it sounds like a glitch more than a conspiracy.

Of course, that didn’t stop the movie’s team from milking the occurrence for all the promotional value they could. Because from the sound of it, as expected, the movie is basically unwatchable. Rewire.News says the movie “follows in a long tradition of anti-abortion filmography that relies little on good filmmaking and much more on a heavy-handed combination of religious redemption, misinformation, shock and gore, and traditional ideas of gender and family.” The Daily Beast says “Unplanned is the cinematic equivalent of an anti-abortion pamphlet peddled by one of those holier-than-thou creeps who lurk outside clinics, reciting biblical quotes in order to terrorize (often young) women looking for much-needed reproductive health care.”

Nothing gets the anti-choice crowd more excited than the feeling they’re being persecuted by liberals. So rather than promote their terrible-sounding movie, then, it makes sense that they would lean into that narrative and use it as marketing.

Plus, as I mentioned, whoever runs the Unplanned Twitter account has already proven they’re really into conspiracy theories.

All of this eye-roll-worthy. The makers of gory, amateurish anti-choice propaganda leaning into conspiracy theories and anti-abortion rage as a way to promote their movie–It’s predictable and not exactly groundbreaking. We point and laugh and then we move on.

And then Ted Cruz had to go and get involved.

Cruz announced Monday that he’d be leading a congressional hearing on Twitter’s perceived censorship of the film’s account. The hearing will be titled “Stifling Free Speech: Technology Censorship and the Public Discourse” and is set for Wednesday. The film’s co-writer and co-director Chuck Konzelman will speak, and executives from Twitter, Facebook and Google have been asked to testify.

There have been previous congressional hearings regarding social media practices on actually serious issues like election interference and the spreading of fake news, and even those did little more than prove how little our lawmakers understand social media. For Ted Cruz to orchestrate a hearing over a piece of anti-choice propaganda is a disgraceful waste of time and resources, and it’s essentially slapping a government endorsement on that propaganda.

If there’s a sliver of a silver lining here, it’s that Kamala Harris is also on Cruz’s committee, and I’m guessing her time will be used very well.

(via THR, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.