Celebs Who Were Banned From Social Media

It's one thing when a celebrity is banned from social media for making an off-hand comment. It's another thing when it's the President of the United States. Donald Trump, who's currently enjoying his Florida retirement, single-handedly changed the way the world viewed social media after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube following the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol at the start of 2021.

Though the merits of Donald Trump's presidency have been widely debated — especially as the nation still faces lawsuits regarding the debunked voting conspiracy theories he helped perpetuate — there are few who would deny his rightful place as king of the internet trolls. Though he perfected the art of cyberbullying during his presidency, which led to him being publicly eviscerated by a 16-year-old girl (what up, Greta Thunberg) and casually threatened a foreign dictator with nuclear war, he's been fine-turning his craft since the days when he was peddling racist conspiracy theories about Barack Obama. In the words of one 4chan user (via The Washington Post), "We actually elected a meme as president" — and as most know, trolls eventually always take it too far and get hit with the banhammer.

Trump's reign of internet terror has come to an end, but he's just one person in a time-honored tradition of celebrity social media bans. Here's a look at some A-listers who also got the axe on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and beyond. It's a carrier pigeon from now on, folks.

Rihanna's work, work, work, work, work got her temporarily suspended from Instagram

Rihanna isn't afraid to use the internet as the universe intended: to tease your haters until they retreat with their ethernet cable between their legs. The nine-time Grammy-winner was once hailed as Nylon's "favorite internet troll" after she dragged the beauty brand Makeup Forever for suggesting that Fenty Beauty wasn't the first cosmetics company to put out 40 different shades of foundation. As Rihanna wrote in a scathing comment under their Instagram post, "Lol. still ashy." The singer has also been caught playfully batting at ex-boyfriend Drake online, but these antics aren't actually what got her temporarily banned from Instagram.

According to the Daily Mail, Rihanna was suspended from the platform in 2014 after she posted a photo of her buttocks, which allegedly violated the platform's notoriously strict rules about nudity. It lasted "several days," and during this time, users who clicked on her page were hit with a "Page Not Found" error — but Bad Gal Riri wasn't actually being that bad of a gal. It was Instagram who was the rude boy. 

A spokesperson for the social media site told the tabloid that the singer's account was "mistakenly caught in one of our automated systems and very briefly disabled." As it turns out, the picture was from a photoshoot with the French magazine Lui. Rihanna's account lives to post a racy (but strategically covered) photo another day.

Kanye West got a 12-hour Twitter ban for doxxing

Kanye West's Twitter account has almost always been a source of controversy. The rapper is known for oversharing and tweeting bizarre statements, just as he does in real life, but things appeared to spiral in 2020 after he used the platform to announce his presidential run. According to NZ Herland, fans grew increasingly concerned when the star claimed that his wife was trying to "lock [him] up like on the movie Get Out." Around the same time, he also tweeted and deleted that Kim Kardashian considered their firstborn daughter, that he had been "trying to" divorce the reality star since she met with Meek Mill in 2018 (via People), and that Kris Jenner should be better known as "Kris Jong-Un" (via Blast). 

It shouldn't be surprising that his extended rant would eventually snowball into a ban-worthy offense. In September 2020, around the same time that he suggested he might be murdered and shared a copy of his recording contract, West shared a Forbes editor's personal phone number and urged his followers to call it, a practice known as doxxing. According to NBC News, this directly violated Twitter's privacy guidelines, and as Complex reports, it led to the temporary suspension of the singer's account. The ban lasted for 12 hours, and though he jumped back on the platform immediately following his time out, at the time of this writing, the star hasn't tweeted since Election Day, November 4, 2020.

Courtney Love made history with her temporary Twitter suspension

Courtney Love has always been a trailblazer — first, for women in the music industry, then for women who run their mouth on social media. In 2011, the artist's short-lived Twitter suspension actually made history as part of a lawsuit The Hollywood Reporter described as the "first-ever high-profile defamation trial over a celeb's comments on Twitter."

Love's ban was months in the making. In 2009, the singer used the platform to rant about fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, who was reportedly "demanding payment for a few thousand dollars worth of clothes." Love claimed to have already paid the designer $40,000 and alleged that Simorangkir was using the singer's fame to advance her own career. In Hollywood, this is hardly a shocking claim, but it gets much more audacious.

During the nearly week-long tirade, the rocker-turned-actor took to just about every social media platform she could log into (including MySpace and Etsy) to allege that the designer was, among other things, a sex worker and a derelict mother with a violent criminal past. Simorangkir ultimately took the singer to court, and Love's feed was temporarily suspended ahead of the trial in early 2011. According to Time, the singer settled the case for nearly $450,000. Of course, this would not be the last time Love's tweets landed her a lawsuit.

Rose McGowan's bone to pick with Ben Affleck got her banned from Twitter

Rose McGowan stood at the forefront of Harvey Weinstein's downfall. The star was first named in the shocking New York Times expose that led to over 100 more women coming forward with their own allegations of sexual misconduct against the movie producer. A month later, she went on the record with Ronan Farrow for his bombshell New Yorker report, which made her one of the first celebrities to directly accuse Weinstein. It all began when a simple 2016 tweet about an anonymous studio-head whose abusive behavior was "an open secret in Hollywood/Media" caught Farrow's eye. A year later, McGowan named names, and it eventually got her suspended from Twitter.

Shortly after The New York Times published its expose, basically exploding the internet in the process, Ben Affleck publicly condemned the movie mogul's alleged actions. According to The Guardian, this sent McGowan into an all-out Twitter war, alleging that Affleck had known about Weinstein's behavior for years. Though she also tweeted "f**k off" directly to Affleck, that wasn't what landed her a 12-hour suspension. Rather, it was the result of a tweet containing a private phone number, which violates the platform's terms of service. As soon as McGowan deleted the tweet, her account was restored.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org.

Azealia Banks got banned from Twitter after a homophobic and racist rant against Zayn Malik

Azealia Banks is practically the celebrity arbiter of erratic behavior. As Billboard reported, she's been known to keep — and possibly even slaughter — chickens in her closet as part of a ritual sacrifice. She's pretty much picked fights with every A-lister possible, including Beyoncé, Cardi B, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Lana Del Rey. Basically, it was only a matter of time before she got banned from one social media platform or another. In 2016, social media finally showed the star the door after she took it too far in a racist and homophobic Twitter rant about Zayn Malik.

According to The New York Daily News, Banks had been dangerously towing the line of Twitter ban since she posted abhorrent, sexually graphic tweets about Sarah Palin, who threatened to sue her. Those tweets didn't technically break the guidelines, but as Billboard reports, her tweets calling Malik racial and homophobic epithets definitely did. Malik's response was little more than verbal shrug, and the rapper made a mad dash to get back on the platform. According to Vulture, Banks tried to make a second account, where she claimed Twitter only banned her because she supported Donald Trump and was a "black b**** speaking her mind." That account was suspended too, and at the time of this writing, she has no verified public Twitter presence.

You can't find 50 Cent in Twitpic's club

50 Cent's goal was to get rich or die trying. Instead, he bankrupted himself and got banned from social media. Of all the places you could possibly face a temporary suspension, the "In Da Club" singer and Vitamin Water mogul was booted from Twitpic in 2010. According to Metro, all it took was some X-rated photos, including a picture of a woman "posing suggestively" with an adult toy and another picture of a woman posing "with a hamburger between her buttocks." Yum.

Instead of passing the ketchup like a good Samaritan, Twitpic laid down the banhammer, igniting one of the most low stakes feuds in the history of hip hop. We didn't even get a diss track. Instead, 50 Cent hurled empty threats, including, "Yhey got 30mns to get it back or I'ma go haywire" and "I run Twitter b****, don't touchin my s***." In this moment, it was never more evident that Fiddy actually didn't run Twitter, but if it's any consolation, Twitpic no longer exists. 50 Cent won his war by simply living long enough for his enemies to destroy themselves.

PewDiePie's check mark was revoked after a terrorism joke

In 2019, a headline from The Verge proclaimed "The Golden Age Of YouTube Is Over," but the supposed downfall began years prior when PewDiePie, one of the platform's highest earners, saw his reputation devolve thanks to a series of antisemitic comments and offensive non-jokes about terrorism. It all began with the creator's 2016 Twitter suspension.

According to The Next Web, the Swedish streamer (whose real name is Felix Kjellberg) had his account temporarily suspended and was stripped of his coveted blue checkmark after making a joke about joining ISIS with a fellow YouTuber. As soon as he could, he retweeted and deleted a post from @SkyNeiws, a parody news account, alleging he was unverified because of "suspected relations with Isis." 

The following year, PewDiePie faced more public scrutiny. The Wall Street Journal uncovered a video of the YouTuber reacting to a sign that read "Death to all Jews." This comment was repeated in a subsequent video, which was removed from YouTube for containing hate speech. Per The Verge, PewDiePie ultimately "lost his YouTube Red series;" was removed from YouTube's premiere ad platform, Google Preferred; and "dropped from Disney's Maker Studios" as a result. The YouTuber himself claimed, "A third of my videos got demonetized," which forced him to take a "family-friendly" approach and move towards other platforms, including Twitch.

As of this writing, PewDiePie has maintained 110 million YouTube subscribers and does not use Twitter, though he still has an account.

Hello Twitter, it's drunk Adele

As it turns out, Adele is just like us. She gets drunk and tweets questionable stuff. In this sense, Twitter didn't ban Adele (which we can only theorize is because the singer's drunk tweets are a gift that must be protected at all costs). Adele banned Twitter — or at least, her team did on her behalf. In a 2015 interview with Graham Norton during the taping of her BBC special (via Entertainment Weekly), the singer revealed that she was forced to relinquish control of her account to her management after developing a penchant for going on drunken Twitter rants.

"I'm not a drinker anymore, but when Twitter first came out I was drunk tweeting and nearly put my foot in it quite a few times. So my management decided that you have to go through two people and then it has to be signed off by someone. But they're all my tweets. No one writes my tweets. They just post them for me. So yeah, that's very, very true," she said.

Hello from the sober side, girl. Maybe you'll get your account back sometime soon.

Tila Tequila ruined her fledgling career as a Twitter troll after sympathizing with Nazis

Since rising to fame on MySpace, the nation has watched Tila Tequila's career trajectory go from MTV reality star to a downward spiral of feces-fueled encounters with Juggalos, antisemitism, last-ditch pleas on GoFundMe, and adamant claims that the Earth is flat. With what basically surmounts to a half-hearted career as a professional Twitter troll, Tequila was always eventually going to be banned from social media. It was just a matter of which platform would pull the plug first. Twitter took the bait.

According to Buzzfeed News, the reality star was banned from the platform "after posting hate speech," which broke the terms of service. It's unclear if this was the result of a single tweet or a pattern of antisemitic behavior. For years prior, she'd aligned herself with Nazi sympathizers, posing on Facebook wearing a red armband in front of Auschwitz and wishing "mein Fuhror" a happy birthday.

Buzzfeed News reported that at the time Tequila's account was removed, her bio read "alt-reich queen! Literally Hitler!" and she had recently tweeted "Are you and your people ready to be rounded up to FEMA camps? Actually, that may be letting you off too easy!" This was in addition to throwing up a Nazi salute in a photo from an event at the National Policy Institute, a Virginia-based white supremacism think tank. In other words: goodbye and good riddance. 

British rapper Wiley achieved the superfecta: a ban from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

Antisemitism is one of Twitter's very few hard lines, and this extends beyond Hollywood. All the way across the pond, the British grime artist Wiley (née Richard Kylea Cowie) ended up being booted from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for using the platforms to share antisemitic messages.

According to the BBC, the artist's campaign to get himself booted from just about every popular social media platform began with a garden variety antisemitic Twitter tirade. This included tweets stating, "I don't care about Hitler, I care about black people," as well as likening "the Jewish community to the Ku Klux Klan." The temporary suspension became a permanent ban when major users "called for a 48-hour boycott" of the service.

After the boycott, Wiley moved to Facebook, where he took aim at the Jewish celebrities who criticized what he wrote on Twitter, lobbing personal attacks at Lord Alan Sugar, BBC presenter Emma Barnett, and English comedian David Baddiel. Per BBC, he referred to "Golders Green," an area of London with a prominent Jewish community, in several of the posts. According to The Times of Israel, YouTube followed suit with a ban a month later. Right now, it seems like the only platform that will have him is OnlyFans, where he charges subscribers $10 a month. Arguably, it's a little pricey for someone whose hate speech outshined his recent album.

Talib Kweli was banned from Twitter after a 'colorism debate' went south

Though Talib Kweli claimed he was leaving Twitter for "greener pastures," the rapper's permanent ban followed a two-week "discussion about colorism" that snowballed into murder threats and doxxing. As Jezebel reports, it began when a then-24-year-old student named Maya Moody tweeted about how rappers Jay Z, Will Smith, Chance the Rapper, and Kweli were — in her words — "almost all ... married to light skinned women, but that's a conversation for another day."

Though Moody didn't specifically tag Kweli in her comment, Jezebel reports that the rapper developed an "obsession" with her and began "incessantly tweeting at [her]." In a statement to Billboard, Moody claimed that even though she had been blocked, Kweli mentioned her handle in as many as 200 posts in the span of 12 hours. This launched an onslaught of harassment and threats from his followers, who leaked her personal information. When she pleaded for Kweli to stop, she claimed the rapper "vowed to continue harassing me for the next 13 years." A fortnight later, he was finally banned from the platform.

Kweli attempted to defend himself to Billboard, claiming his fatal flaw was sharing screenshots of the harassment he received, which contained phone numbers from purported "burner" phones. "When you see all these articles ... saying I attacked and harassed this poor, innocent Black woman who didn't do anything wrong all because I'm a colorist, that's a complete f****ing lie," he said.

According to Instagram, Grace Coddington's scandalous cartoon wasn't in vogue

Vogue's former creative director, Grace Coddington, is just about the last person you'd expect to be banned from Instagram for public indecency. She's not exactly posing in risque outfits like Rihanna. In fact, she only sporadically posts to begin with, but apparently, a little cartoon nudity is all it takes. According to Independent, the former model was temporarily suspended in 2014 after posting a nude cartoon self-portrait.

Coddington's sketch — which was by no means detailed to the point of vulgarity — was meant to promote an auction that featured some of the former editor's "favorite nude photographs." Instagram has had a long history of removing posts that show female nipples, including pictures of breastfeeding, even though male nipples are allowed. The fatal flaw for Coddington's apparently X-rated cartoon may have just been that. She dotted in some nipples, no larger than period, because, as we've already stated, it was a cartoon. How utterly scandalous.

Coddington's account was eventually reinstated, and the Instagram team admitted they had made a mistake. She made light of the snafu, captioning another post, this time a drawing of two cats, "Good grief Pumpkin, Mother drew a nude selfie for her very first Instagram. no wonder they shut her down......she is much fatter than that." All we can say is #FreeTheCartoonNipple.

Half-baked conspiracy theories got this celebrity chef booted from Facebook

Facebook started cracking down on the spread of misinformation in late 2020 and early 2021. It's what led to Donald Trump's permanent ban (at least, permanent for now), and the platform has only gotten more stringent about misinformation regarding the COVID-19 public health crisis. Though GOP lawmakers have used debunked conspiracy theories to downplay the pandemic, it's not just happening stateside. In 2021, Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans was banned from Instagram and Facebook for repeatedly sharing conspiracy theories about the virus.

Evans had long been a controversial figure. The BBC reports that he lost a number of sponsorships in 2020 after sharing a meme featuring a "neo-Nazi symbol." The outlet also stated that Evans regularly promoted "pseudoscience about diets and cancer cures." It seems, however, that his ban from the popular social media site was for particularly narrow reasons.

Facebook confirmed is decision to remove the chef from the platform in a statement. "We removed Pete Evans's account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines," the company said (via BBC). "We don't allow anyone to share misinformation about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm or about Covid-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts."

Far-right commentator Alex Jones became king of the social media ban

Alex Jones, whose natural habitat appears to be yelling at his microphone during his eponymous radio show, was subject to one of the most controversial social media bans of all time, but that's not to say it wasn't a long time coming. The conspiracy theorist regularly peddled debunked claims about the so-called deep state — including the bonkers Pizzagate theory, which was so absurd it warranted a rare public apology. Weirdly enough, rampantly spreading misinformation isn't what got him banned from YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and Twitter. Instead, he violated the terms of service of those platforms with abusive behavior and hate speech.

According to Politifact, the final straw appears to be a handful of videos posted in the summer of 2018. Per The Verge, these four videos, which were removed from YouTube, "contained hate speech against Muslims" and "transgender people," as well as content that constituted "child endangerment." There was also a rant in which Jones appeared to threaten Robert Mueller while making a gun symbol with his hand.

According to The New York Times, Jones was already facing numerous legal battles with people he's accused of various falsehoods, including the families of the Sandy Hook victims, who say they were harassed by Jones' followers over the radio host's outlandish and false claims about the mass shooting. Many of those lawsuits are still playing out in court, as of this writing, and Jones' outreach has been restricted to his InfoWars website and not much else.