Anyone caught making "snarky comments" was fired.
Not So Absolute
It would appear that billionaire Elon Musk's self-avowed free speech "absolutism" has its limits — and according to Bloomberg, saying mean things about Musk is one of those non-absolute ceilings. Convenient!
Serial biographer Walter Isaacson's new book about the founder, "Elon Musk," unsurprisingly includes several anecdotes about Musk's takeover of the social media company formerly known as Twitter (it's since been rebranded to just "X," for some reason.) Per Bloomberg, one such Isaacson-penned vignette from Musk's purchase of the platform explains that during the mass layoffs that took place at the beginning of Musk's Twitter tenure, the billionaire had a team take a fine-tooth comb to the platform's Slack, using keywords like "Elon" to find and log any less-than-favorable remarks. Any employees found making "snarky comments" about Musk, as Isaacson apparently put it, were added to a list, and everyone on that list was fired.
In the SpaceX and Tesla CEO's world, "unfettered free speech," as Isaacson wrote, "does not extend to the workplace."
As Bloomberg points out, free speech laws don't technically extend to the workplace. Musk also famously retains a certain degree of paranoia, so it's not terribly surprising to see the world's richest man fire naysayers for the sake of perceived loyalty.
Regardless of whether firing employees for making fun of their boss is technically legal, though, it's still wildly uncool, and certainly seems to speak to Musk's long record of really, really needing people to like him. And still, considering the billionaire's eternal quest to prove his loyalty to the cause of inhibited First Amendment rights — even spending $44 billion on the internet's slowly-dying-and-probably-former town square to do it — it's usually worth calling out the founder's wide-ranging bending, and occasional all-out breaking, of his own proclaimed ideology. From penning columns for censored Chinese state media, to suspending journalists and even shadowbanning entire publications that he doesn't like, the alleged emerald scion's absolutism is known to warp to his whims and mood swings.
We'd also be remiss to note that Musk is currently waging war on the antisemitism nonprofit the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which Musk is threatening to sue for, uh, defamation, on grounds that the ADL's claims that Twitter's antisemitism problem has gotten worse since the billionaire's purchase of the platform (it has) has caused the social media platform to lose massive amounts of revenue. You know, because Free Speech.
More on Musk and Free Speech: Free Speech Lover Elon Musk Seems to Be Throttling Exposure to Sites He Doesn't Like on Twitter
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