Former Twitter exec Yoel Roth asked if teens could ‘meaningfully consent to sex’ with teachers in 2010

In a 2010 tweet, Roth asked, "Can high school students ever meaningfully consent to sex with their teachers?"

Joshua Young North Carolina

Former head of Twitter Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, who quit Twitter in early November and was complicit in censorship of conservative voices on the site, tweeted out a link in 2010 to a Salon article titled "Student-teacher sex: When is it OK?" 

Jack Posobiec tweeted, "If only there had been some warning signs about Yoel Roth," and posted a screenshot of a 2010 tweet where Roth asked, "Can high school students ever meaningfully consent to sex with their teachers?"

The Salon piece documents the story of a High School choir teacher, Matthew Hirschfelder,  who had sex with a student. According to Salon, "Things get messier when looking at cases like Hirschfelder's. If we draw the line at high school graduation, as opposed to at a student's 18th birthday, it means that a teacher having sex with a 20-year-old high school student could be outlawed."  

The Post Millennial reported about Twitter's child pornography problem in 2020, and how prolific sharing of sexual images of minors had become on the social media site. When Elon Musk bought Twitter, he said it was "Priority #1" to eliminate child porn on the platform and worked to erase the hashtags users were exploiting to help spread the images.

Roth quit soon after.

On November 20, Roth published an op-ed with the New York Times claiming he fought "dangerous misinformation" while at the social media giant and said, "yes, ban[ning] President Donald Trump" was part of his efforts. He also said Musk's goal of "unfettered speech" was not right for the platform.

"The work of online sanitation is unrelenting and contentious," he added.

Users called Roth out then for how he allowed child pornography to flourish at the outlet. One user wrote, "Why was child pornography permitted on Twitter for years under your watch, but stamped out within 48 hrs after you left?"

The multiple rounds of the "Twitter Files" confirmed that Roth was complicit in censorship of conservative voices on the site.

In early December, Roth defended banning the Babylon Bee and Libs of TikTok on Twitter and said the users make "people unsafe in the world."

Musk uncovered a portion of Roth's PhD thesis and wrote, "Looks like Yoel is arguing in favor of children being able to access adult Internet services in his PhD thesis."

Roth argued that he was concerned about "safely connecting queer young adults" and that "we can't readily dismiss these platforms," such as Grindr, "out of hand as loci for queer youth culture."

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