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Sorry, Elon, Booing Is Free Speech Too

Whomp whomp.

Elon Musk looks over the shoulder at the camera with a smug sort of smile, wearing a tuxedo at the Met Gala

Elon Musk was booed for 10 minutes on Sunday night after he joined Dave Chappelle on stage at the Chase Center in San Francisco during Chappelle’s live show.

Journalist Steven Goffman posted a copy of the video to Twitter. In the video, Chappelle introduces Musk as “the richest man in the world,” and Musk comes out, waving and pumping his arms. As the audience boos, Chappelle comments that “some of the people you fired are in the audience.” Chappelle then says that all the people booing “have terrible seats,” joking that they couldn’t afford better ones. For the most part, though, the video shows the two of them milling around, unsure of what to do. Eventually the mood turns hostile, and Chappelle tells the audience to “shut the fuck up.”

According to Newsweek, the account that originally posted the video has been deactivated. Although some on Twitter believe that Musk is scrubbing the video from the platform, in truth, it’s unclear why the user deleted their account.

Musk himself commented on the booing on Monday morning, claiming that the reaction “was a first” for him, and dismissing the audience as “unhinged leftists.”

The fact that Musk was in any way surprised at the booing just shows how thick of a bubble he’s living in. While he may have once been seen by most as a visionary, Musk has lately proven himself to be an incompetent and cruel manager with little real knowledge of tech. In his first weeks at Twitter, he’s fired over half of Twitter’s staff and forced remaining employees to work long hours to compensate. The city of San Francisco is currently investigating him for converting Twitter office space into makeshift bedrooms. Musk has shredded his own reputation, prompting former employees at SpaceX and Tesla to reveal that he had to be constantly managed in order for the companies to function.

Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that Anthony Fauci, who led the U.S.’s initial Covid response, should be prosecuted (for what, he didn’t specify, although many right-wing conspiracy theorists believe that Covid is a hoax). He then followed that comment up with transphobic whining about pronouns.

Similarly, Chappelle has been on his own freefall into right-wing hatred, making transphobic remarks in his Netflix special and using his recent Saturday Night Live opening monologue to promote antisemitism.

Sorry, Elon. If you truly care about free speech as much as you claim to, then you’re going to have to get used to being booed—because that’s the sentiment people are looking to express these days.

(featured image: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.