Democrat celebrities are jumping ship from Twitter following the takeover by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Musk, who is a self-described free-speech absolutist, has rubbed many people the wrong way, but Black celebrities like mega TV producer Shonda Rhimes say they don’t want to stick wound to see what Musk has planned for Twitter.
Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of the social media platform on Oct. 27 and went in right away making changes, Fortune reported.
He immediately fired top executives he had previously criticized for being too suppressive when it came to free speech on the platform. But at the same time, Musk reassured advertisers that the platform wouldn’t become a “free-for-all hellscape.” Despite this, General Motors said it would temporarily pause advertising on Twitter, stating, “We are engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership.”
“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Musk tweeted on Oct. 28. He followed up with, “To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies.”
Still, many Democrats left the platform.
Rhimes, who created “Grey’s Anatomy” as well as a number of TV hits, told her 1.9M Twitter followers, ‘Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye.”
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“I’m out of here,” “This Is Us” executive producer Ken Olin told his 300,000 followers on Oct. 28, keeping a previous promise in which he stated, “The day @elonmusk takes ownership of Twitter, I’m out.” “No judgment,” he added. “Let’s keep the faith. Let’s protect our democracy. Let’s try to be kinder. Let’s try to save the planet. Let’s try to be more generous. Let’s look to find peace in the world.” Olin said he was heading to try Tribel social instead.
“Bill & Ted” star Alex Winter also quit Twitter and scrubbed his tweet history. He left behind a meme about Musk taking over the platform that pictures Musk as a Musketeer along with former President Donald Trump and Kanye West.
As some exited, the platform did see a barrage of Twitter trolls who flooded the platform with racial slurs and Nazi memes. The instances of the N-word increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours immediately after Musk took control, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute, which analyzes social media content and predicts emerging threats.
“The danger here is that in the name of ‘free speech,’ Musk will turn back the clock and make Twitter into a more potent engine of hatred, divisiveness, and misinformation about elections, public health policy, and international affairs,” Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told the Associated Press.
Some Democrats decided to stick around.
Director and leftist activist Rob Reiner, who in the past was concerned about Musk taking over the platform, tweeted: “For those who are fighting to preserve our Constitutional Democracy, now is not the time to leave Twitter. Now is the time to VOTE BLUE!”
Black journalist Roland Martin, who remained on the platform, called for Blacks to start their own social media platform, tweeting “Y’all dropping Twitter? It’s time for #BlackTwitter to move en masse to @fanbaseapp. The hell with losing followers and dealing with a resurgence of racists. It’s time to create a billion dollar Black-owned social media company. We made @jack Mark Zuckerberg & others enough money”
Shonda Rhimes at the Backstage Creations Giving Suite benefitting the Television Academy Foundation Educational Programs during the 74th Emmy Awards on Sept. 12, 2022 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by [Dana Pleasant]/Invision for the Television Acadmey/AP Images)