LOS ANGELES - Twitter denied the Babylon Bee's appeal on Wednesday after the social media giant locked the satire site's account following a joke about Rachel Levine, a transgender official in the Biden administration, winning USA Today's "Man of the Year" award, according to CEO Seth Dillon.
Dillon told Fox News Digital that they're "disappointed" by the rejection of the appeal, but not surprised.
"It doesn't change our position. They can delete our joke if they want. They have that power. But we're not bending the knee and doing it for them," he said in a statement.
"We were doing a satirical take on USA Today recently naming Rachel Levine, a transgender individual, as one of their picks for women of the year. So we did a satirical take on this, and we named Rachel Levine as our man of the year," Dillon told Fox News Digital. "Twitter didn’t like that very much."
Levine serves as assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is a transgender woman.
Dillon explained in an interview with Fox News Digital that they have no intention of deleting the tweet, which is what Twitter required they do if they want to regain access to their account.
Babylon Bee Editor-in-Chief Kyle Mann was also locked out of his account after tweeting, "Maybe they'll let us back into our Twitter account if we throw a few thousand Uighurs in a concentration camp," referencing other accounts that are associated with China and their treatment of the Uighur minority that are still allowed to operate.
"Twitter claims in their mission statement to be a platform for free expression ‘without barriers.’ So why are they censoring lighthearted jokes? This isn't about protecting individuals from targeted hatred or harassment. It's about shielding their false gender ideology from criticism, even criticism done in jest," Dillion also said in reaction to the appeal denial.
The Babylon Bee was locked out due to "hateful conduct," according to Twitter. Dillon said that despite being a satire site, Big Tech companies have rules that allow them to monitor certain publications that "go after the wrong targets."
"The initial attacks that we face from the media and Big Tech came from this angle that we’re spreading misinformation, and we need to be fact checked, and it was really weird how they were treating these jokes so seriously and giving them a truth rating," he said, adding that they now seem to be zeroing in on "the fact that we’re punching down without jokes."