Alex Jones after his arrest on charges of DWI on March 10, 2020 in Travis County, Texas (left) and billionaire Elon Musk in Stavanger, Norway on August 29, 2022. (right)Image: Travis County Sheriff’s Office / Carina Johansen (Getty Images)
Elon Musk was asked Sunday whether he’s going to let conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back on Twitter. And it’s a reasonable question, considering all the other fringe people Musk has welcomed back on the bird app recently. But Musk had a very personal response, indicating that Alex Jones will never be allowed to return to the social media platform, which banned him in 2018.
The question about letting Jones back on the service came from right-wing author Sam Harris and professional shit-stirrer Kim Dotcom.
“Alex fucked up with Sandy Hook. He admitted that and apologized,” Dotcom tweeted, ignoring the fact that Jones later said he no longer wants to apologize for calling the mass shooting a hoax during his defamation trial.
“He also got a lot of ‘conspiracy theories’ right. If serial liars like Biden and Trump are allowed on Twitter then Alex Jones should be allowed too. Please reconsider in the interest of real free speech,” Dotcom continued.
But Musk made it clear he wasn’t going to be persuaded to let Jones have a voice on the platform.
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“My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat. I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame,” Musk tweeted.
Musk’s first child, Nevada Alexander, was born in 2002 to his first wife Justine Musk. Nevada passed away at 10 weeks old of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known by its abbreviation SIDS. Elon and Justine have five other children together.
Jones was sued for defamation by the families of victims at the Sandy Hook Elementary School where twenty children and six staff were murdered in 2012. Jones had called the shooting a complete fabrication with so-called “crisis actors” who were only pretending to be victims.
Jason Calacanis, a venture capitalist who was brought in my Musk to help run the company, also explained the reasoning to keep Jones banned from his perspective.
“Alex Jones is pure evil and the easiest case for any platform to adjudicate—in my opinion (and that’s all it is folks!),” Calacanis tweeted.
“$1.4b in judgements across multiple jurisdictions in the United States, where speech almost always default wins over victim suffering,” Calacanis continued.
Why was Calacanis so quick to note it was just his opinion on Jones? Likely because Musk has been upset with Calacanis taking too much credit for the changes that’ve been made at Twitter in recent weeks.
The decision to keep Jones banned didn’t go over well with right-wing influencers on the platform. Tim Pool, a Trump supporter and YouTube personality, seemed angry that Musk wasn’t going to let Jones back on Twitter.
“It’s personal,” Pool tweeted in reaction to Musk’s explanation.
“What do third party statements have to do with the rules of Twitter? Either there are objective rules or we live under the whims of billionaires, which obviously is the case,” Pool continued.
Musk has previously called himself a “free speech absolutist,” but it’s become increasingly clear that he either isn’t that or doesn’t understand what it means. Free speech absolutism would theoretically mean that even someone who lied about a high-profile event like the Sandy Hook massacre would be allowed to continue saying such things. The way to fight “bad speech” is more speech, as the libertarian view on speech goes.
Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion with a number of co-investors, very publicly welcomed Donald Trump to the platform after a two-year ban this weekend, but the former president has yet to tweet and says he has no plans to do so in the future. In fact, it’s not even clear that Trump can use Twitter, given his agreement with his own social media company, Truth Social.
Other people who had their accounts previously suspended were back on the platform over the weekend, including Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. The rapper recently came out as a virulent anti-Semite with several rambling diatribes against Jewish people. But Musk was palling around with Ye on the platform on Sunday.
“Shalom,” West tweeted Sunday with a smiley face.
Musk, who liked Ye’s tweet, recently declared that he’s a Republican, but his management of Twitter seems to be the real proof in the pudding. Modern day Republicans, it’s often said, can’t empathize with any problem until it affects them personally. Alex Jones is going to stay banned on Twitter because Musk personally understands the horror of losing a child. But since Musk isn’t Jewish, apparently he can joke around with anti-Semites all day long.