In a state where Republicans are intent on canceling liberal voices and constitutional rights, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has added one more piece of legislation to her previous “package.”


Joined by allied legislators, she announced an attack on “cancel culture.”


She promoted the popular Republican/Trump line that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are suppressing conservative voices (though she was careful to add she wants to protect liberal voices, too.)

Here’s the news release:


Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today introduced legislation called AR Voices: Combating Cancel Culture and Protecting Freedom of Speech. This new legislation would make social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and others liable for damages when unfairly censoring or banning someone. The bill states that if these websites do not act in “good faith” they will have violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and can be held accountable by the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.

“Cancel culture cannot become the norm in Arkansas, especially when our Freedom of Speech in rural America is in jeopardy,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This legislation would allow everyone, no matter the circumstances to have an equal and fair opportunity to post online and if a social media giant does not comply, the company can be held accountable.”

AR Voices: Combating Cancel Culture and Protecting Freedom of Speech is aimed at protecting Arkansans from being unfairly subjected to the unilateral judgments of big tech companies to censor their free expression of ideas and freedom of speech on online platforms.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives websites the ability to regulate content from users on their platforms, so long as they act in good faith. The original intent of Section 230 was to empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material and to ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal criminal laws to deter and punish trafficking in obscenity, stalking and harassment online. Unfortunately, many platforms have expanded beyond the original intent of the law and try to use it as a shield from liability for banning ideas or speech in which they simply do not agree. This bill would allow Arkansas to hold social media giants accountable if they unfairly censor, delete or label speech, including religious or political language.

In Arkansas, each violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000.

The lead sponsors are Senator Rickey Hill, District 29, and Representative Brian Evans, District 43.

This opens up a whole box full of statutory and constitutional Pandoras, to borrow a Republican construction of yore. They begin with the definition of “good faith.” I think it’s “good faith” for an Internet information portal to bar access to congenital liars and the lies they propagate. As a Trump supporter, Rutledge has a different view. Who decides what’s an “unfair” deletion?

What’s next? Preventing a digital news outlet from deciding whose words it publishes?

I thought this was a good opportunity to show how well that cancel culture is working, with the daily listing of top Facebook links. No evidence of cancel culture there.

Rutledge adds this to heer legislation against the non-existent participation of transgender girls in school athletics.


Everything else is solved in Arkansas, I guess, so the 2024 gubernatorial candidate has taken aim at the last two big issues unsolved in Arkansas.

Republicans want to squelch teaching about slavery. To squelch teaching about social justice. To prevent sexual minorities from having full constitutional rights. To make it harder to vote. To tell cities what they can and cannot legislate relative to police, guns or civil rights. They control the government.

And they are worried about “cancel culture.” Rich.