Twitter suspends Banks

NEW YORK: Twitter on May 12 suspended the provocative rapper Azealia Banks after she went a step too far by launching racist attacks on former One Direction heartthrob Zayn.

The Twitter account of @AZEALIABANKS returned a message saying that it was suspended with a link to the service's conditions, which lists "abusive tweets and behaviour" as a reason for temporary removal.

The New York artiste has been long been a controversial and prolific presence on Twitter, attacking fellow rappers — notably Iggy Azalea — and once urging the burning down of homes of ancestors of slave traders.

But she appeared to cross a line late on May 11 when she used epithets related to Muslims to attack Zayn, whom she accused of copying her style.

Banks, who is African American, at one point boasted, the US military would kill the family of Zayn, a Briton who is partially of Pakistani descent and who has gone solely by his first name since leaving the boy band.

Banks on May 12 stopped short of an apology but said she was angered that Zayn would not engage with her on Twitter and renewed accusations of stylistic plagiarism.

Numerous Twitter users had called for Banks' suspension — a rare move by the California-based company which encourages boisterous conversations — and a festival in London, Rinse/Born & Bred, cancelled her appearance next month. The rapper, who won acclaim for her track 212 has been known for provocative online remarks. She came under fire for using homophobic language.