On March 28, Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee at a hearing titled “Preserving Free Speech and Reining in Big Tech Censorship.” Dillon testified before the subcommittee alongside Stanford University Professor of Health Policy Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Shellenberger, Environmental Progress founder and president, and Spencer Overton, George Washington University Law School professor and president of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
House Energy and Commerce has maintained a steady drumbeat of Big Tech scrutiny, including a headline-grabbing hearing on the harms of TikTok. On March 28, the subcommittee led by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) turned its attention to the effect of Big Tech censorship on free expression, the role of Section 230 in facilitating censorship, and Big Tech’s proper role in upholding the First Amendment.
The witnesses who sat before the subcommittee were selected to provide insight from their own experiences of censorship. Dillon’s well-known Christian satire website, The Babylon Bee, has been gratuitously fact-checked, flagged, and restricted by media platforms.
“Our jokes have been repeatedly fact-checked, flagged for hate speech, and removed for incitement to violence, resulting in a string of warnings and a drastic reduction in our reach,” Dillon said. “Even our email service suspended us for spreading harmful misinformation. We found ourselves taking breaks from writing jokes to go on TV and defend our right to tell them in the first place. That’s an awkward position to be in as humorists in a free society.”
Dillon commented that “Censorship guards the narrative, not the truth. In fact, it guards the narrative at the expense of the truth.” He added, “The comedian’s job is to poke holes in the popular narrative. If the popular narrative is off limits, then comedy itself is off limits. And that’s basically where we find ourselves today.”
Dillon was selected by the NRB Board of Directors as this year’s recipient of the Board of Directors Award, which honors a Christian who demonstrates integrity, displays creativity, and makes a significant impact on society. The award will be presented to him during the Closing Gala on May 25 at the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Watch Dillon’s full opening statement here:
"Our speech is restricted to the point where we can't even joke about the insane ideas being imposed on us from the top down. The only reason Twitter is now an… pic.twitter.com/5Co2b8cp24
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) March 28, 2023
Watch the full committee hearing here.