Elon Musk sparks controversy with anti-trans tweets

Controversy began when Twitter faced backlash for throttling visibility of the film due to violations of platform's rules on hateful conduct

By
Web Desk
Elon Musk sparks controversy with anti-trans tweets. AFP/File
Elon Musk sparks controversy with anti-trans tweets. AFP/File

Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Twitter, has ignited a firestorm of controversy after sharing a series of anti-trans content on the platform and vowing to actively lobby for the criminalisation of healthcare options for transgender children. 

Musk's actions came in response to criticism from right-wing figures who were angered by the reduction in visibility of a film called "What is a Woman?" that promotes intolerance towards transgender individuals and opposes medical intervention for trans children.

The controversy began when Twitter faced backlash for throttling the visibility of the aforementioned film due to violations of the platform's rules on hateful conduct. Musk, criticising the decision, said that it was a mistake and that he would intervene to ensure it was changed. However, just hours later, he shared the video himself and even pinned the tweet to the top of his profile, urging parents to watch it.

Elon Musk sparks controversy with anti-trans tweets

Musk's tweets further intensified the backlash as he expressed his intention to actively lobby for the criminalisation of healthcare options for transgender children, referring to them as "severe, irreversible changes." He also voiced support for imprisoning advocates of gender-affirming care without parole.

This latest controversy marks a significant rightward turn for Musk, who publicly aligned himself with the Republican Party last year. Since taking over as CEO of Twitter and declaring himself a "free-speech absolutist," he has reinstated banned right-wing accounts and made controversial statements that have led to staff departures.

Elon Musk sparks controversy with anti-trans tweets

The repercussions of Musk's actions are being felt within Twitter itself, as several top executives have resigned. The head of safety and the brand safety team's leader have both departed, and other staff members have made their accounts private due to harassment stemming from Musk's comments.

The controversy also raises questions about Twitter's ad policy. It has been reported that the trust and safety team has been instructed to only enforce policies on ads that are scams or illegal, leading to confusion among staff regarding hate speech in advertisements.

It's worth noting that Musk has a transgender teenage daughter who petitioned a court to change her name, expressing a desire to sever ties with her father. This personal connection adds another layer of complexity to the situation.

As the fallout from Musk's tweets continues to unfold, the debate over free speech, transgender rights, and responsible platform moderation reignites, highlighting the challenges social media companies face in navigating contentious content and protecting vulnerable communities.