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“How’s That Free Speech?” Jack White Mocks Elon Musk After Twitter Bans Kanye West

"It's nice to watch in real time as you learn that all things need to be regulated"

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jack white mocks elon musk free speech kanye west twitter
Jack White (photo by Paige Sara), Elon Musk (Theo Wargo/WireImage), Kanye West (Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

    “So Elon, how’s that ‘free speech’ thing working out?” Jack White wrote to Elon Musk after Twitter‘s new owner suspended Kanye West for antisemitic incitement to violence.

    After West’s December 1st interview with Alex Jones in which he repeatedly praised Hitler, the artist whose legal name is Ye tweeted out an altered image of a Swastika. Musk posted that West had “again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”

    “Oh, I see, so you have to CHOOSE who gets free speech and who doesn’t then?” White posted on December 2nd. “What kind of crybaby liberal suspends someone’s free speech?”

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    White has been publicly critical of Musk’s so-called “free speech” approach to content moderation ever since he announced that Donald Trump would be allowed back onto Twitter despite his role in the January 6th insurrection. “You intend to give platforms to known liars and wash your hands like pontius pilate and claim no responsibility?” White asked in November. “trump was removed from twitter because he incited violence multiple times, people died and were injured as a result of his lies and his ego, (let alone what his coup did to attempt to destroy democracy and our Capitol).”

    In his latest post, White followed up on that train of thought. “So you’re learning that these folks incite violence and hatred but trump…DOESN’T?” he wrote. “Hmmm.”

    He wondered if it’s because “anti-Semite egomaniac kanye can’t provide tax breaks for billionaires the way the former president could? Or that maybe the controller of this ‘free speech’ is insulted personally? Or that just maybe, there needs to be, oh I don’t know, RULES and REGULATIONS or else you breed chaos?”

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    In explaining his goals, Musk has said, “By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law.” In the US, free speech is largely protected by the First Amendment, though the Supreme Court has outlined several types of speech which get lesser or no protection. The First Amendment shields people from government censorship, but does not prevent speakers from experiencing consequences from other citizens or platforms, including social media.

    Formerly, as a publicly-traded company, Twitter’s approach to content moderation was designed to maximize advertiser revenue. But after taking Twitter private, Musk has sought a policy closer to First Amendment standards, at the cost of alienating advertisers.

    “It’s nice to watch in real time as you learn that all things need to be regulated,” White continued, “whether that be guns, drugs, alcohol, assembly, or speech because of the danger of someone or something being hurt or destroyed. They’re sometimes called ‘laws.’ And perhaps you’re learning how harmful it can be when you let dangerous, hateful people say whatever they want on your stage.”

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    White ended with a plea to “Do the right thing Elon and don’t provide other hate mongers a stage.” Check out his full post below.

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