Twitter has reinstated former-journalist-turned-COVID-misinformationist Alex Berenson’s Twitter account, Berenson announced, naturally, on Twitter.
“Shady’s back,” Fox News’ favorite “COVID contrarian” wrote in his second tweet since his August 2021 suspension. “Tell a friend.”
In a subsequent post on his Substack blog, “Unreported Truths,” Berenson said he couldn’t comment further beyond an official statement: “The parties have come to a mutually acceptable resolution. I have been reinstated. Twitter has acknowledged that my tweets should have not led to my suspension at that time,” he claimed.
“I’m pleased to be back on Twitter, as it is a vital forum for journalism and free speech,” Berenson added in a statement to The Daily Beast. “I plan to use the service as I always have, to publish accurate and truthful information on topics of public interest. And occasionally to rant about the Mets and Nets.”
A Twitter spokesman echoed Berenson’s statement, writing: “The parties have come to a mutually acceptable resolution. Twitter has reinstated Mr. Berenson’s account. Upon further review, Twitter acknowledges Mr. Berenson’s Tweets should not have led to his account’s suspension at that time.”
Berenson used his Substack post to attack media outlets for reporting on his suspension, specifically calling out Insider and NBC News, which he claimed “drooled” over his suspension after they labeled him a “conspiracy theorist.”
“The settlement does not end my investigation into the pressures that the government may have placed on Twitter to suspend my account,” Berenson wrote. (That line drew the interest of fellow online troll and on-again-off-again wannabe Twitter boss Elon Musk, who replied on Twitter: “Can you say more about this.”)
Berenson was suspended last year after Twitter said he violated the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy multiple times. The former New York Times reporter often tweeted debunked or unfounded claims dismissing the severity of COVID and the efficacy and safety of the vaccines.
His first tweet after being reinstated followed that trend: “Don’t think of it as a vaccine. Think of it - at best - as a therapeutic with a limited window of efficacy and terrible side effect profile that must be dosed IN ADVANCE OF ILLNESS. And we want to mandate it? Insanity.”
After his suspension, Berenson had been catapulted to the top of the right-wing vaccine-skeptic movement. He became a favorite of Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson, who routinely featured Berenson’s “COVID contrarian” commentary, and told him he would personally help fund the ex-reporter’s lawsuit against Twitter. Berenson was also given a prime speaking slot at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
“I have not said this to you before, because I’m pretty careful, and I’m pretty careful with the data,” Berenson claimed to Carlson in January, just as the Omicron wave of the virus had the nation in its grips. “The mRNA covid vaccines need to be withdrawn from the market now. No one should get them. No one should get boosted. No one should get double-boosted. They are a dangerous and ineffective product at this point against Omicron.”
Berenson did not thank Carlson in his Substack post, nor any of the Fox News producers and viewers that helped keep him relevant over the past year. The regards were saved mostly for his lawyers and his family, along with the “thousands of you who put up your own hard-earned money where my mouth is.”
“This battle for truth and free speech is won,” he wrote. “The war is far from over.”