J. Scott Applewhite/AP
- A far-right commentator who went viral for harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is suing her.
- Alex Stein’s lawyer argues Ocasio-Cortez violated his client’s First Amendment rights.
- Stein wants a court to help him get his block reversed.
A far-right commentator who harassed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the Capitol last year filed a suit Wednesday claiming AOC violated his First Amendment rights by doing so.
Alex Stein, a commentator on TheBlazeTV, a media network founded by Glenn Beck, gained attention in June 2022 after he filmed himself yelling at Ocasio-Cortez, calling her his “favorite big booty Latina” and accusing her of wanting to “kill babies.”
In the suit, Stein claims that Ocasio-Cortez was actually flattered by his comments, supposedly evidenced by her flashing a peace sign at him, but blocked him once she “realized” he was not a political ally. The lawsuit also provides a screenshot from Stein’s account showing that he was blocked.
Stein’s lawyer requests that he immediately be unblocked from the @AOC Twitter account, Ocasio-Cortez’ personal account, which the suit describes as her de facto “official” account.
The suit Knight First Amendment Institute v. Donald J. Trump, in which a federal judge ruled in 2018 that Trump had violated the First Amendment by blocking his critics on Twitter via his personal @realdonaldtrump account. The ruling established that personal accounts “can turn into a governmental one if it becomes an organ of official business.”
“Mr. Stein desires to engage in political discussions in the robust public forum that is Ms. Cortez’s huge Twitter account,” Stein’s lawyer wrote.
However, another suit, Campbell v. Reisch, maintained that certain accounts run by government officials — even those that sometimes tweet about official government proceedings — can still be considered personal, and therefore exempt from this rule.
Following the harassment from Stein, Ocasio-Cortez called the incident “deeply disgusting” and said Stein was “seeking extremist fame.” Ocasio-Cortez also later criticized Capitol Police for not doing anything in response to Stein’s comments
As to why she approached him and flashed a peace sign following his lewd comments, Ocasio-Cortez said she was “actually walking over to deck him” but decided to stop herself.
Ocasio-Cortez has been sued before for blocking individuals on Twitter, and some First Amendment experts have criticized her for it. In 2019, the congresswoman apologized and settled a lawsuit filed by former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a conservative who she had previously blocked.
However, she said in 2019 that she would not stop blocking people on her personal @AOC account and she stood by her decision.
“Now and in the future, however, I reserve the right to block users who engage in actual harassment or exploit my personal/campaign account, @AOC, for commercial or other improper purposes,” she said in a statement to Insider in 2019.
A representative for Ocasio-Cortez and a lawyer for Stein did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.