The Instagram account Barstool LMU recently posted a photo of students presenting in their philosophy class dressed in athletic clothing featuring the caption "Socrates f---ed little boys. We're about to do the same to some queers out on Leavey field. Y'all should come and watch." It was only a few hours before the post was taken down by the account. Barstool was asked for comments on the situation and they have yet to respond. Typically, the owner(s) captions the posts themselves, but because this caption is in quotes, its source is unclear. Regardless, many people were offended by the post. Are these grounds for it to be taken down, or is this an instance of silencing free speech?
Taking it down was the right action:
What people don't seem to understand in instances like this, when free speech is brought up, is that free speech is only protected from infringement from the government, according to Lata Nott—an executive director of the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Center. It isn't a free pass to say or post hateful content and be safe from all consequences. The caption itself referenced pedophilia and used derogatory slurs against the LGBTQ+ community, and absolutely should have been removed, or better yet — not have been posted in the first place.
It should have been left up:
While it is in bad taste, it is only a joke. Barstool LMU should be allowed to say whatever it deems appropriate. Instagram is allowed to decide what content is appropriate for their platform, according to the platform's rules and regulations. If Instagram was fine with this post then there should not have been an issue. If the account's content bothers people, avoiding it is incredibly easy.
Information compiled by Ally Boulas, Asst. Life + Arts Editor and Jennifer Lee, Opinion Editor