Elon Musk, in the middle of a crisis of his own making after hundreds of Twitter employees quit following his demand they commit “hardcore” to toiling at the company, found the time to pardon comedian Kathy Griffin for the crime of impersonating the tech tycoon.
Griffin was suspended from Twitter in early November after she changed her account name to “Elon Musk” and used his pic for her profile. Griffin took over the Twitter account of Maggie Griffin, her late mother, after being banned and has continued to troll Musk. On Friday, she responded from that account, “Dear Eilon. You f**ked up, fool. I’m going downstairs to my basement of heads. You’re up. Xxoo, The Beheader.”
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As for whether or not to let Donald Trump back on Twitter, Musk said, a “decision has not yet been made.” Trump was permanently banned from Twitter and other mainstream internet platforms in early 2021 for his posts supporting the Jan. 6 rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Musk has accused Twitter of censoring conservatives and he has previously said he would reverse Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump, calling it a “morally bad decision.” Trump has previously insisted he would not rejoin Twitter, regardless of who owns it, to stick to his own (ironically named) Truth Social, a Twitter knockoff.
In addition to reinstating Griffin — whose first name he misspelled as “Kathie” — Musk also said author Jordan Peterson (which he misspelled as “Jorden”) and satire site Babylon Bee have had their Twitter accounts restored.
Peterson, a right-wing Canadian psychologist, was suspended in June 2022 under Twitter’s rules prohibiting hateful conduct after he tweeted, “Remember when pride was a sin?” He then deadnamed Elliot Page, the actor who in 2020 announced that he is transgender, and said that Page’s “breasts [were] removed by a criminal physician.”
In March 2022, Twitter suspended the right-wing Babylon Bee, also under the company’s “hateful conduct” policy, after the publication announced that it had selected Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman who is U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health, as its “Man of the Year.” The website bills itself as “your trusted source for Christian news satire.”
In response to a Twitter user who exhorted Musk to “bring back Alex Jones,” the conspiracy-monger who has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion to families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Musk replied, “No.”
Musk, shortly after he closed the $44 billion Twitter takeover on Oct. 27, said the company would create a content-moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints” and that “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.” It’s unclear whether such a council was formed.
Upon completing the Twitter deal, Musk fired the senior management team and laid off 50% of its 7,500 employees. On Thursday, more than 1,200 employees quit over Musk’s “hardcore” workplace fiat, the New York Times reported. That would leave around 2,500 staffers remaining, about one-third its previous headcount.
In a thread Friday, Musk said Twitter’s new policy ensures “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”
According to Twitter’s CEO, that means “negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.” He added, “You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.”
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