When CNN editorial producer Andrea Lewis reached out to New York Daily News writer Shaun King on Wednesday, asking him to appear on the network, King was shocked she had the audacity to contact him.
King is also a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. In August, he became the focal point of a national conversation about race when conservative website Breitbart published a report questioning his racial identity.
CNN’s Don Lemon ran with the story, and King felt the network handled it poorly.
“Don Lemon talked about it many times on air and really butchered it,” King told The Huffington Post. “Frankly, I was really shocked [at the invitation] because in my mind and in my heart, in August, the way he handled my story was so egregious.”
So when Lewis contacted him, King shot back that he would never again appear on the network. He then posted a screenshot of their email exchange on Twitter. A version of that screenshot with contact information redacted appears below:
A short while later, King tried to check his Twitter account while getting a haircut, but he couldn't log in. He also received an email from the social network informing him that his account had been suspended, but that it would be reinstated if he deleted the tweet.
King said he suspected that CNN reached out to Twitter to have the critical post removed. CNN declined to comment.
Twitter’s terms of service bar users from releasing a third party’s contact information without permission. “You may not publish or post other people's private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, street address or Social Security/National Identity numbers, without their express authorization and permission," the rules state.
Some Twitter users have criticized King for having included Lewis’ contact information in his original tweet.
A Twitter spokesman said the social network could not comment on the incident. “We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” he said.
King deleted the tweet and his account was subsequently reinstated. He then expressed his outrage in a series of tweets.
King said he has had no further contact with CNN after the initial exchange.
“If sharing that made her feel unsafe, then I’m not proud of that,” he said. “If that’s [why the account was locked], the foul is mine. But if it was something other than that, then yeah, that’s weird.”