Tennessee State Representative Justin Pearson has been reinstated to his position in the House of Representatives, just a week after being expelled. Pearson was the second lawmaker to be expelled in a historic, contentious vote earlier this month, along with Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Mike Sparks, over their roles in promoting extremist ideologies and conspiracy theories related to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
Pearson’s reinstatement came as a surprise to many, as he had shown no remorse for his actions and had even defended his extreme views in a television interview last week. However, Republican leaders in the House ultimately decided to overturn the expulsion, citing procedural errors in the vote.
Pearson’s supporters claimed the decision was a victory for freedom of speech and a rejection of cancel culture, while critics argued it was a dangerous precedent for allowing dangerous conspiracy theories and extremist voices to gain a foothold in government.
Meanwhile, the Tennessean newspaper reported that many readers were calling for a boycott of the state over the “Tennessee Three” expulsion, which they saw as a stain on the state’s reputation. Pearson, however, remained defiant, saying in a statement to MSNBC that “they can try, but Tennessee’s GOP can’t expel our movement.”