Bevin 2018

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One man told Gov. Matt Bevin to “take pride in paying the taxes on your house” after the governor failed to make his property tax payments on time.

After Bevin chided people for calling for new firearms regulations in the wake of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, a woman tweeted at him, “WTF This IS the time to talk about gun control!”

The Wire creator David Simon also urged Bevin in a tweet to “repeal those laws on murder, drunk driving and bribery of public officials for starters. F--- it. Law itself can’t work.”

For those comments on Bevin’s social media accounts, the governor blocked them. Those examples, included in hundreds of pages of court documents filed Tuesday, provide a window into Bevin’s approach to prohibiting access to his Facebook and Twitter pages.  

In fact, the new documents show that Bevin has blocked nearly 3,000 people. The ACLU of Kentucky filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2017 that argued the governor’s actions violate the U.S. Constitution.

Bevin's lawyers fought turning over internal text messages and emails, as well as the offending tweets and Facebook messages. A judge, however, ordered the governor to release them, and this week some of them were entered in the public record as part of the lawsuit.

The ACLU has about 1,700 pages of sreenshots of blocked users but did not publicly file all of them. 

The ACLU on Tuesday asked for a judge to agree with it and force Bevin to unblock those people on Twitter and Facebook.

The new exhibits filed in court offer a glimpse into the criteria Bevin’s office used in blocking people on social media.

For example, Bevin told a staff member that one person was a “whiny, off topic social media troll” who added no value to the conversation. Elizabeth Kuhn, the governor’s communications director, responded with a “thumbs up” emoji.

Bevin ordered another person to be blocked for posting “unrelated crap.” Woody Maglinger, a governor’s spokesman, replied back with “will do” and a “thumbs up” emoji.

Bevin asked that a woman be blocked on Facebook because “there is a limit on idiocy and she has surpassed it.”

Also included in the new filings are the user names of people whom Bevin blocked. 

One citizen wrote an email to Bevin's office after he was blocked, saying "to continue to be public servants to the Commonwealth, I would strongly advise toughening your delicate skins ... ."

Bevin staffers testified people were blocked for posting obscenities, including "offensive emojis," repeatedly posting on the same issue and for not staying on topic, according to the documents. 

When asked who decides what is obscene, a staffer testified that it would be up to whoever was monitoring the governor's account at that time. 

"You know it when you see it," testified Blake Brickman, Bevin's chief of staff.

Brickman also accused the ACLU of targeting Republicans with these kinds of lawsuits. 

In its motion, the ACLU argued that 90 percent of the people blocked had been critical of the governor. 

Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.

Digital Reporter

Marcus Green joined WDRB News in 2013 after 12 years as a staff writer at the Louisville Courier-Journal. He reports on transportation, development and local and state government.