Twitter late Tuesday evening removed a video tweeted out by President Donald Trump’s official account because it contained music from Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. According to both The Hill BuzzFeed News, the producers of the short clip did not acquire the license to use the song, resulting in Warner Bros. filing a copyright claim. Twitter then removed the video hours later for violating its policies around copyrighted material.
The video, a bizarre bit of promotional material some speculate is designed to whip up hype for Trump’s 2020 reelection bid, features an altered quote, widely misattributed to Mahatma Ghandi, starting with, “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you.” The team behind the Trump video — it’s unclear right now who produced the two-minute clip — changed the next line from “then they fight you” to “then they call you racist.”
The video is designed to remind viewers that Trump was an underdog in 2016, but it for some reason features clips of comedians Rosie O’Donnell and Amy Schumer, as well as the leader of North Korea, interspersed with clips of Trump at various rallies and public meetings at the White House and elsewhere. Even more bizarre is that the whole thing is set to Hans Zimmer’s “Why Do We Fall?,” the 11th track from The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack. Warner Bros. did not respond to a request for comment.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
The removal is notable because it appears to be only the second time Twitter has taken official action against Trump on the platform, despite numerous apparent violations of its policies around harassment, threats of violence, and other content rules. Trump has regularly flouted Twitter rules with almost no repercussions, with Twitter claiming that the president’s tweets are inherently newsworthy and therefore protected under ambiguous exemptions.
“Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society,” the company said in a blog post published in January 2018. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.” This was after Trump threatened to wage nuclear war against North Korea during a tense series of escalating tensions between the US and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.
One such area where exemptions are not allowed would appear to be copyright. Twitter has once before removed a video Trump tweeted from of his official account that contained copyrighted music from the band R.E.M., which took issue with their song “Everybody Hurts” being used similarly in a video posted directly to the social media platform. The video is no longer available, but Trump’s tweet remains live.