Social media giant Twitter suspended the account of George Zimmerman — the Florida man acquitted of charges for killing Black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 — after he posted the phone number, email address, and naked photos of an alleged ex-girlfriend.
In the angry rant, Zimmerman also tweeted what could be a xenophobic statement, saying the woman — who he identified as “Heather” — slept with a “dirty Muslim.” The 31-year-old also said the woman stole a gun and cash from him.
Of course. A gun.
From the NY Daily News:
“This is Heather,” the first of two tweets about her read. “She cheated on me with a dirty Muslim.” He added a phone number and told his 15,500 followers, “She’ll sleep with anyone.”
Minutes later, he continued, “Did I go to far? I won’t even mention that she stole a gun and cash from me.”
The tweets were later deleted, along with the Twitter account.
It’s unclear if Zimmerman’s tweets, which could be considered revenge porn, will land him in court again. While Twitter refused to comment on Zimmerman’s personal accounts, the social media platform does have a policy banning the posting of photos of such nature and other confidential information, the Washington Post notes. And while Florida does have laws that apply to revenge porn, it’s unlikely Zimmerman violated what’s currently on the books, the Post reports.
As of October, Florida is one of a couple dozen states to have laws on the books banning “revenge porn,” or the nonconsensual distribution of compromising photographs and personal information. But at least one expert on Florida’s law says that the measure probably doesn’t apply to Zimmerman’s tweets.
“Zimmerman’s actions probably do not violate Florida’s revenge porn law. That law only applies to images that depict the person’s nudity or engagement in sexual conduct,” said Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami and legislative and tech policy director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. Franks has advised more than two dozen states on legislation protecting sexual privacy. She advised Florida on the drafting of their new cyber privacy law, she said, but was “quite critical of the final product.”
Florida law has a very specific definition of “nudity,” Franks added, one that does not appear to be met by the photographs Zimmerman published.
In the photographs, which we have elected not to distribute, the woman is semi-nude.
That doesn’t mean Zimmerman is out of the clear yet; he could run into trouble under stalking or harassment laws.
Based on Zimmerman’s Teflon track record, we’re not so sure he’ll face any charges. Zimmerman, who just this year retweeted photographs of Martin’s corpse without consequence, has had numerous run-ins with the law over the past two years, many of which were due to domestic (and allegedly violent) disputes between him, estranged wife Shellie Zimmerman, and a number of girlfriends.