Follow Us

Apple blocks presidential candidate's newsletter, Libs of TikTok banned from email marketing

No explanation given for actions against Michael Rectenwald's Citizens for Legitimate Government, Chaya Raichik's influential chronicler of progressive pieties. Email marketer blocks Just the News when asked.

Published: October 9, 2023 11:06pm

Updated: October 10, 2023 12:32pm

Boring old email is still one of the most effective marketing methods – and a major choke point for entities deemed outside the political mainstream. 

Apple is blocking delivery of a newsletter founded by Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Rectenwald to his own email subscribers, while email marketing provider AWeber booted Libs of TikTok, the influential chronicler of progressive pieties, a day after accepting its business.

Neither provider has allegedly explained the basis for their actions or responded to Just the News queries going back to late September, but the deprived proprietors assume it's ideological.

Rectenwald's Citizens for Legitimate Government is a serial target of de-platforming that lost its web host of 14 years this summer for allegedly undermining the host's "mission to support social movements fighting for social justice." CLG News aggregates news from sources that have themselves faced censorship and throttling, including Just the News.

It urged newsletter subscribers Wednesday to ask Apple why it's blocking delivery to iCloud or Mac addresses "no matter how it is distributed."

Error messages from "thousands of bounce-backs" said the server rejected the email due to unspecified "local policy," according to CLG. "Apple asked us for to [sic] provide evidence of the bounced emails and error messages. We’ve done that. We’re still blocked."

Editor-in-chief Lori Price also asked attorneys among its subscribers for help responding to "this blatant First Amendment violation." She pointed Just the News to Rectenwald's book "Google Archipelago," which argues Big Tech companies are "governmentalities" that act "at the behest of the state." 

"We suspect that Apple is following directions from an agency or agencies of the federal government," Rectenwald said, but clarified he didn't have evidence of such.

Price copied Just the News two days earlier on a message to the iCloud administrator, saying its 400 subscribers with Mac and iCloud emails couldn't get the newsletter despite CLG owning its server, using a "double opt-in subscription process" and offering three unsubscribe methods.

Apple kept blocking the newsletter when she sent it to those subscribers through her personal Gmail address, she said: "Why are you censoring this newsletter?"

The subject line on the email that triggered the "local policy" bounce-back, which Price said was sent through CLG's server, her personal Gmail address and "even a one-on-one email exchange," mentioned a class-action lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of COVID therapeutic Remdesivir for "alleged deceptive practices."

"When I changed the subject line to 'Experiment: different subject line - see if you get this' and forwarded it to someone with an iCloud address, it did not bounce back," Price wrote in an email.

Yet when CLG sent a breaking email about Kevin McCarthy's ouster as House speaker, it bounced back again from iCloud and Mac subscribers. "So at this stage of the game, I deem it censorship," she said.

A CLG subscriber who complained to iCloud forwarded the administrator's response to Price, who shared it with Just the News. The administrator claimed Apple's filters blocked the newsletter because it included a link to The Gateway Pundit: "One of our vendors has identified malware on this domain."

Gateway Pundit founder Jim Hoft is a private plaintiff in the First Amendment lawsuit against federal officials by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana.

Rectenwald, a former New York University professor, made his name in recent years as "Deplorable NYU Prof," a social media alter ego that mocked the "liberal totalitarian costume surveillance" of resident advisers before Halloween but got him in trouble on campus.

NYU paid him generously to quit in 2019 rather than face a jury in his defamation suit. This year bestselling author and psychologist Jordan Peterson plugged Rectenwald's book on "The Great Reset."

Rectenwald threw his hat in the ring for the Libertarian presidential nomination last month, making the announcement on comedian Dave Smith's podcast, which is influential in the libertarian movement. His motto is "Rec the Regime!"

The onetime "avowed Marxist" said he's running to stop the "totalitarians, like those that came after me at NYU," who have "taken over the government, most large corporations, and nearly all cultural institutions."

Progressive pro-life activist Terrisa Bukovinac formally launched her challenge to President Biden for the Democratic nomination the same week.

Libs of TikTok sicced its 2.5 million followers on AWeberon  Sept. 29 after the email marketing provider for small businesses closed its account based on a "Best Practices team" review. The company withheld "information on the specifics of review" to "protect the integrity of our network," the posted notice said.

"We didn’t even get a chance to use [the account] yet," Libs of TikTok said.

Referring to its specialty in sharing videos on exposing children to gender ideology, the account run by former real estate agent Chaya Raichik said AWeber "does not believe in free speech or in protecting children. They are targeting those with dissenting views." 

An AWeber customer solutions specialist told Just the News that any discussion about account termination must happen between the Best Practices team and account owner, despite the fact that Libs of TikTok received no explanation. 

"I would not have any information, and for security purposes cannot disclose information regarding the account of a separate individual," the specialist said, unilaterally ending the chat. AWeber also blocked this reporter on X when asked how the deplatforming followed its contractual language, and has not answered email queries.

Just the News Spotlight