Senator Josh Hawley is facing ridicule online for claiming he is being silenced by the “left wing mob” while appearing in an interview broadcast to millions on Fox News Primetime.
Sen Hawley, who gained notoriety after he took part in an Electoral College challenge that became the focus of a violent siege of the Capitol on 6 January, made the comments in an appearance on Tuesday.
Host Maria Bartiromo introduced the controversial senator as a “vocal victim of cancel culture” and Sen Hawley then spent the majority of the segment voicing his belief that he is being “silenced”.
“This is about American democracy. The right of free speech and I can tell you I’m not going to be intimidated. I’m not going to be silenced and I’m not going to back down,” he said.
The segment was quickly met with mockery online, with users pointing out the irony of the senator claiming to be silenced while broadcasting to millions on the country’s most-watched cable news channel.
“Hawley appears on Fox News again to say he won’t be silenced,” one user posted.
Hawley appears on Fox News again to say he won’t be silenced pic.twitter.com/MPe2vs5lvM
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) January 27, 2021
“Can someone please unmuzzle the guy who appears on my TV every 30 minutes?," another said.
“I’m being muzzled!” he screamed, tweeted, wrote in a column and in a book.
— Windsor Mann (@WindsorMann) January 25, 2021
“‘I’m being muzzled!’ he screamed, tweeted, wrote in a column and in a book,” USA Today’s Windsor Mann said.
Users were also quick to compare the segment to a viral clip of Lisa Kudrow posing as a conservative politician in Charlie Brooker’s satirical Death to 2020.
In the clip the character continually promotes her opinion that “conservative voices are being silenced” on a number of prominent platforms such as Fox News and in a New York Times bestseller.
Did Josh Hawley write this pic.twitter.com/vxMcsnv6mK
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 25, 2021
Agreeing with Sen Hawley, Ms Bartiromo went on to claim that she had her Twitter followers slashed from one million to “under 900,000” in the weeks since the election.
“I don’t know what’s going on there,” she said before hitting out at Twitter’s new “birdwatch” feature, which allows users to report misinformation on its platform.
The platform said it had suspended over 70,000 accounts that were sharing content related to the QAnon conspiracy theory in the wake of the riots.
“Twitter purged QAnon accounts. That's what's going on,” NBC News reporter Ben Collins said.
“I will never get sick of the genre of conservatives complaining about losing Twitter followers,” Daily Beast editor Molly Jong-Fast said.
I will never get sick of the genre of conservatives complaining about losing Twitter followers
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) January 27, 2021
Vox journalist Aaron Rupar called the segment “beyond parody.”
On Monday Sen Hawley faced similar criticism from both sides of the political spectrum after he wrote a column in The New York Post entitled "It's time to stop the muzzling of America".
In the piece published on the front page, Sen Hawley complained about being silenced and said that companies are demanding citizens hold certain views.
New York University journalism professor Elizabeth Spiers said: “For somebody who claims he's been consistently muzzled, Sen Hawley is somehow in my face in major media outlets all the time.”
The Missouri senator was photographed raising a fist in solidarity with the pro-Trump mob who stormed the Capitol on 6 January in a riot that left five dead.
Following the insurrection, Simon & Schuster cancelled Sen Hawley’s forthcoming book The Tyranny of Big Tech, but the book was reportedly picked up less than two weeks later by conservative publisher Regnery.