Daily Wire host Matt Walsh, who called the white supremacist great replacement conspiracy theory “just a fact,” is using an unauthorized photo of a trans man in a trailer promoting his upcoming documentary. The subject of the photo has asked Walsh to remove the picture, which the Daily Wire host tweeted on May 14. While the unauthorized use could violate Twitter’s policy on copyrighted material, the platform refuses to act, maintaining its recent streak of permitting anti-trans content in violation of its own stated policies.
Five days after Walsh tweeted a trailer for his forthcoming documentary “What Is A Woman,” Steph Kyriacou quote-tweeted Walsh, saying a photo of his has been used in the documentary without permission and asking for it to be removed. It appears that his photo had been taken from his Instagram profile. This photo is one of several in the trailer depicting transmasculine people following their top surgery. Troublingly, another Twitter user said the trailer for Walsh’s documentary also included an unauthorized image of their then-15-year-old son.
This is not the first time that Walsh has come under fire for making and promoting this film without permission from those appearing in it. Earlier this year it was revealed that as part of filming the documentary, he had created a puppet organization to trick trans people into appearing in the film.
After Kyriacou and other users reported Walsh’s tweet for copyright violations, Twitter responded by saying it would not take down the tweet, even though Walsh appears to be in violation of Twitter’s policies because he’s profiting from the use of the images. The film is being released through Daily Wire’s website and is exclusive to those who pay for a membership.
Despite Twitter users pointing out the potential violation, the post remains up.
Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, cited Twitter’s failure to remove Walsh’s trailer as an example in a trend of Twitter failing to enforce its policies on harassment of trans people.
Across social media, platforms are failing to address anti-trans content, and Twitter is no exception. The platform has recently failed to enforce its own content policy on hate speech in regards to misgendering and other forms of harassment.
This documentary is the latest piece in Walsh’s strange obsession with trans people and their identities — earlier this year, he released a children’s book comparing gender identity to identifying as a walrus. It is also part of a larger right-wing tactic to manufacture outrage by posing a disingenuous question that seeks a simple answer for a complex question, the absurdity of which became even more transparent when Republicans were posed the same question.