Twitter halts verification process amid Jason Kessler backlash

Jason Kessler, organizer of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that descended into violence, is seen being escorted by state troopers after coming under attack by an angry crowd as he tried to address reporters on Aug. 13, 2017.


Last Updated Nov 9, 2017 2:56 PM EST

Twitter (TWTR) on Thursday announced a temporary suspension of its badge verification process after criticism of the microblogging company's awarding its coveted "check mark" to a white supremacist.

Here's what @TwitterSupport had to say:

The news follows widespread outrage after Twitter earlier this week assigned the blue and white check mark to Jason Kessler, a noted white supremacist.

Kessler was the organizer of a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August that killed one person and injured dozens of others. At the time, he said the victim who died, Heather Heyer, was "a fat, disgusting Communist. Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time."

He later deleted the tweet and said his account had been hacked. Then he blamed his comments on taking too many prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.

The drama over Kessler comes just weeks after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a string of tweets the company was taking a more aggressive stance eliminating "hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence." 

In response to the backlash of his blue badge, Kessler tweeted Wednesday that "I never claimed to be "superior" to anyone else because of my race. However, my people are beautiful, unique & deserve to have a voice like anyone else."

He later posted a poll asking his nearly 14 million followers: "is it okay to be white?" The poll had nearly 50,000 responses by midday Thursday.

This article originally appeared on CNET.