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Twitter owner and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and author Stephen King have been duking it out over the blue-check verification badges since Musk first announced his plan to charge a monthly fee — and King attempted to escalate matters on Saturday.
The acclaimed horror author — who remains verified despite his repeated claims that he has not paid the requisite fee — responded to Musk’s implication that he was footing the bill personally by suggesting he do something else with his money.
“I think Mr. Musk should give my blue check to charity. I recommend the Prytula Foundation, which provides lifesaving services in Ukraine. It’s only $8, so perhaps Mr. Musk could add a bit more,” he tweeted.
I think Mr. Musk should give my blue check to charity. I recommend the Prytula Foundation, which provides lifesaving services in Ukraine. It's only $8, so perhaps Mr. Musk could add a bit more.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 22, 2023
Musk replied to King on Sunday, saying, “I’ve donated $100M to Ukraine, how much have you donated? (We turned down the DoD money btw).”
The spat began when King first learned of Musk’s plan to charge a fee for verification — which he initially said would be $20 per month.
“$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” King tweeted, informing critics that he wasn’t concerned about the cost but rather “the principle.”
Musk replied with a counter-offer, suggesting a fee of $8 per month instead — which was the price point he eventually set.
“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
And when the “legacy” blue check marks began to disappear, King’s remained — and he was quick to complain, adamant that he had not paid the fee to remain verified.
“My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t,” King tweeted.
You’re welcome namaste 🙏
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
Musk, who later hinted that he might also be paying the fees to keep NBA player LeBron James and “Star Trek” actor William Shatner verified as well.