Former Brooklyn Assemblymember Dov Hikind is free to resume his constitutionally-protected hobby of tweeting paranoid nonsense at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after the two settled a lawsuit filed by Hikind alleging the congresswoman had violated his free speech by blocking him.
Rather than testify in federal court this week, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez apologized on Monday and agreed to unblock him. "Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them," she said in a statement. “In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind."
The suit was filed this past summer, after a federal judge ruled that Donald Trump could not block critics from accessing social media accounts he uses for government business.
Hikind, whose nearly four decades in local politics were marked by black face controversies and crusades against pro-Palestinian subway ads, had initially accused Ocasio-Cortez of anti-Semitism for describing the immigrant concentration camps along the southern border as "concentration camps." He used news of the settlement on Monday to amplify his attacks on the New York representative.
"Ocasio-Cortez, who speaks out about everything wrong with America, has not spoken out about anti-Semitism," he claimed, falsely, during a press conference. "I challenge Ocasio-Cortez to speak out about the anti-Semitism that has invaded the streets of our city and our community."
He also blamed "political correctness" for Ocasio-Cortez's refusal to engage with his posts. "If you want to be in elected office, don't be afraid of what people have to say to you," he said.
As a member of the state assembly, Hikind himself blocked a number of users on Twitter, including several New York City reporters. "Whatever happened yesterday, the rules are different now," Hikind told Gothamist, when asked if he was guilty of the same political correctness.
Following his retirement from politics, Hikind founded the group Americans Against Antisemitism. The organization recently helped organize a rally in support of a councilmember's anti-Palestinian comments, and has accused Ocasio-Cortez of "supporting Palestinian terrorism."
The congresswoman is also facing lawsuits from two other media-hungry right-wing personalities at One America News Network and The Daily Wire.
"This is a great moment," Hikind added on Monday. "I hope more good can come out of this."