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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Monday, October 25, 2021

#FREESPEECH in the News October 25, 2021

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH in the News October 25, 2021

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) Facebook did little to moderate posts in the world’s most violent countries

In late 2020, Facebook researchers came to a sobering conclusion. The company’s efforts to curb hate speech in the Arab world were not working.

In a 59-page memo circulated internally just before New Year’s Eve, engineers detailed the grim numbers.

Ads attacking women and the LGBTQ community were rarely flagged for removal in the Middle East. In a related survey, Egyptian users told the company they were scared of posting political views on the platform out of fear of being arrested or attacked online.

In many of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones, Facebook has repeatedly failed to protect its users, combat hate speech targeting minority groups and hire enough local staff to quell religious sectarianism — according to disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by the legal counsel of Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower.

2.) A Spokane teacher is accused of creating a hostile work environment for her response to Washington’s vaccine mandate

A Spokane elementary school teacher who is opposed to the vaccination mandate and has shared debunked claims about COVID-19 vaccines has been accused of creating a hostile work environment after she wore a mask bearing a protest symbol.

For three days last week at Stevens Elementary School, teacher Raschelle Holland wore a KN95 mask with the likeness of a mockingjay, a fictitious bird species popularized in the “Hunger Games” books and movies as a symbol of defiance to tyranny.

In Holland’s opinion, the tyrant is Gov. Jay Inslee because of his requirement that school teachers, state employees and health care workers either get vaccinated, receive a religious or medical exemption or lose their jobs.

The deadline passed last week, and the reality for the unvaccinated has set in: Dozens of employees, including firefighters, state troopers and even Washington State University coach Nick Rolovich, are out of a job.

3.) Judge dismisses former baseball player's free speech lawsuit against UGA

On Sept. 30, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Georgia and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia brought by former Bulldogs baseball player Adam Sasser.

The suit came in response to Sasser’s permanent release from the UGA baseball team and suspension from campus following an incident that took place at the Georgia-Tennessee football game in Sanford Stadium on Sept. 29, 2018. Spectators filmed and saw Sasser, who is white, in the UGA student section using a racial slur directed at then backup quarterback for Georgia, Justin Fields, who is Black.

The ruling states that Counts I, II, III, IV, V and VII, of Sasser’s second amended complaint, as well Sasser's breach of contract claims against the individual defendants, are dismissed with prejudice, meaning Sasser can not re-file these claims again in court. The ruling for count VI does allow Sasser to re-file this claim but only at the state level and not in federal court, where the original lawsuit was filed.

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