Elon Musk contacted The Babylon Bee before buying a substantial share of Twitter, according to the Christian satire site’s chief executive.
Musk is a fan of The Babylon Bee — which is currently suspended from Twitter for an article that jokingly named Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine as “Man of the Year” — and was hosted on the site’s podcast at the end of last year. According to Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon, the world’s richest man consulted with The Babylon Bee before purchasing a 9.2% stake in Twitter.
“Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech,” Dillon reported. “He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”
Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter's commitment to free speech. He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he's the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) April 5, 2022
Twitter has thus far refused to revoke its decision to lock The Babylon Bee’s account. According to Dillon, the company wrote: “Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision.”
Dillon said that the account could be restored 12 hours after the company deleted the tweet linking to the Levine article. Dillon, however, refused to acquiesce. “We’re not deleting anything. Truth is not hate speech,” he wrote. “If the cost of telling the truth is the loss of our Twitter account, then so be it.”
Musk — who now adds the title of “Twitter’s largest shareholder” to his resume — has promised to “make significant improvements to Twitter” in the coming months. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO will also be appointed to Twitter’s board of directors.
Musk began his shakeup campaign with a poll to his 80 million followers. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” the 50-year-old asked. “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” The poll came back to show that more than 70% of the 2,000,000 respondents answered “No.” Musk initially teased creating a new platform of his own and noted that Twitter “serves as the de facto public town square,” yet fails to “adhere to free speech principles” — and therefore “fundamentally undermines democracy.”
Technology analyst Dan Ives correctly predicted on Monday morning that Musk’s move at Twitter is “just the appetizer” of what’s to come. “This is just a starter … Musk is not gonna do this just to take a passive stake,” Ives told CNBC. “He’s gonna ultimately try to either really change Twitter in terms of a more active stake or eventually, could lead to a buyout.”