Who's blocked on Twitter by Mayor Kasim Reed now?

Oct 23, 2015
John Spink
Mayor Kasim Reed pulls no punches when dealing with his critics. (JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM)

UPDATE: Read the responses from Mayor Reed's office at the bottom of this article. 

The Atlanta press corps has a running in-joke about who among them belongs to the "Kasim Twitter Block" club — a surprisingly large group whom the mayor has chosen to block on the social media platform. The club’s name (and the #KTB hashtag) is the brainchild of Creative Loafing reporter Max Blau (now with Atlanta Magazine), who compiled this list in July 2014 of local journalists who can call themselves club members. AJC reporter Katie Leslie, who has joked about her brief time in the "KTB Club," recently wrote about Mayor Reed's social media approach

This week, another reporter learned that he's a member of the club — Jelani Cobb, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and one of the most widely read African-American journalists in the country. With almost 48,000 followers, Cobb is possibly the first nationally known media figure to make mention of the Kasim Twitter Block.

Cobb, a former Spelman professor who has known Reed since their undergrad days at Howard University, has sparred with the mayor before, although Cobb says that his earlier run-ins didn't get him blocked. 

So what does it take to get blocked by the mayor? We asked Mayor Reed's office for some clarification. See their responses at the bottom of this article. 

Here are updates on Max Blau's original KTB list, plus a few new names that have come to light over the past 15 months. 

Let's start with the three journalists who started it all:

@MaxBlau (Creative Loafing, now Atlanta Magazine, reporter) 

Status: STILL BLOCKED (or as Blau puts it, "forever blocked" for creating his KTB list) 

Reason he was blocked: Blau and Creative Loafing news editor Thomas Wheatley incurred the mayor's ire in 2014 when CL ran a guest op-ed article (not written by the CL staff) on the APS-Beltline fight. When Reed took to Twitter to complain about the piece, Wheatley and Blau found themselves arguing with, then blocked by, the mayor. From this incident, Blau began to compile his list. Read more about the whole mess here.

@ThomasWheatley (Creative Loafing news editor) 


Reason he was blocked: See above.

@KatieLeslieNews (AJC reporter) 


Reason she was blocked: Leslie thinks she was blocked in response to her coverage of the 2014 snowstorm and she's not entirely sure why she was unblocked later. 

Here are the other journalists on the original list:

@JimBurress (WABE senior reporter) 


Reason he was blocked: "I don't know for sure," he says, "but the stories I did about the Atlanta Eagle raid ... caused many tense moments between the mayor and me." He adds, "If you find out, I'd love to know!"

@mahennie (Project Q reporter) 


Reason he was blocked: In May, 2014, Hennie noticed that both his personal account and his news site's account (@ProjectQAtlanta) had been blocked. After talking with the mayor's staff, Hennie got his news site's account unblocked, but his personal account remains blocked. Hennie says that he's made positive tweets about the mayor, so Reed's reaction is a mystery. "I checked back a couple of months prior to May 2014 and can't find any 'offending' tweets," he says. "So I'm not sure why I was blocked."

@GrayJustin (Cox Media Group Washington correspondent) 


Reason he was blocked: "I actually have no idea what story it was that got me blocked," he says, although he's pretty sure that it goes back to his days as a city government reporter for FOX 5.

@DaleRussellFOX5 (FOX 5 Senior iTeam reporter) 


Reason he was blocked: "Which story? Not sure," he says. "Was doing several different stories."

@KWingfieldAJC (AJC political commentator) 


Reason he was blocked: "I don't recall what got me on the list," he says, although he believes it could have been a 2013 column he wrote about Reed's fight with street vendors. The two later joked with Peach Pundit editor Charlie Harper about having a "beer summit" over the issue.

@BonnerJeanne (HLN reporter, formerly of GPB) 

Status: STILL BLOCKED (maybe) 

Reason she was blocked: "I do believe I am blocked by him but I don't know why!" she says. "This was back when I was at GPB."

@Condo29 (Anchor for KISS104) 


Reason she was blocked: We didn't get an answer as to why she was blocked, but Pressley tells us, "I am no longer on the list."

@WABERoseScott (WABE host and reporter) 


Reason she was blocked: Scott says, "I have no idea why I was initially blocked, but the mayor and I are like really, really cool now."

We also reached out to Michell Eloy (@MichellREloy) of WABE, but did not get a response. She posted the following tweet in 2014 when Max Blau created his list:

And now for a few more names not on the original list, including some non-media types:

@ConorSen (Investment manager for New River Investments) 


Reason he was blocked: Sen was the co-author of the 2014 guest op-ed for Creative Loafing that ignited the mayor's Twitter spat with Thomas Wheatley and Max Blau, which in turn led to Blau creating his KTB list. However, Sen was not blocked at that time. He found that he was blocked later -- possibly, he thinks, because of the tweet attached below.

Sen adds that he has even been publicly congratulated by Reed on Twitter:

@M_Bloom (AJC education reporter) 


Reason she was blocked: "I don't know," she says.

@tjpman (Independent journalist for thatsjustpeachy.com) 


Reason he was blocked: "I am not sure what was the exact cause," he says. However, "I would be pretty confident it had something to do with the Falcons stadium decision. ... I was pretty vocal, on social media and elsewhere, about my disgust with the stadium funding."

@ScottyHendo (CEO of the Sandbox Crew) 


Reason he was blocked: At first, Henderson said, "I have no idea why." Then after some research using Twitter's advance search tools, Henderson came back with this theory: He thinks that his moment came when he asked a member of Reed's staff how Reed's penchant for blocking compared to former Newark mayor Sen. Cory Booker (see below). The Reed staffer had previously worked for Booker. Still, Henderson says, "We'll never really know because it's just immature to be concerned about it." Mayor Reed would probably agree.

@RaynardJohnson (active citizen) 


Reason he was blocked: Johnson says, "After one of his State of the City addresses, Kasim Reed said teen crime had been down, and I asked him on Twitter, what age group do you call teen crime? ... and just to do that, I got blocked." He added, "I consider it a badge of honor to be blocked by him."

@SpaceyG (Owner of WaySouth Media) 


Reason she was blocked: "I have no earthly idea. ... And to think I voted for him. Twice!" (Daughters' other comments were much more colorful.)

@EdAsante77 (Maryland-based politcal junkie) 


Reason he was blocked: Asante, who doesn't have any particular ties to Atlanta, believes that the tweet below was what got him blocked. Asante said about the incident: "I swear I didn't even do anything. See for yourself."

Mayor Kasim Reed's Director of Communications Anne Torres wrote the following response: 

Mayor Reed uses social media as a personal platform to engage directly with constituents and some journalists. Since 2010, his Twitter following has grown to 103k followers and he now ranks in the top five most followed Mayors in the U.S. 

Like all Twitter users, Mayor Reed has the right to stop engaging in conversations when he determines they are unproductive, intentionally inflammatory, dishonest and/or misleading. 

As it relates to Jelani Cobb – he is entitled to voice his opinions. We are not interested in what he has to say. 

Mayor Reed also tweeted this once this article was published: