If anyone ever wonders why a man like Elon Musk, who has revolutionized multiple industries and has $140 billion, would spend his time overseeing a time sink like Twitter, it has to be because he’s having so much fun trolling self-important celebrities.
When he first bought Twitter and vowed to end censorship of conservatives, allowing people that Hollywood leftists disagreed with to actually have First Amendment rights, many of them flew into snits and ostentatiously declared that they were leaving Twitter for good. Of course, like their vows to move to Canada if Trump was elected in 2016, most didn’t really mean it. It was just to win them a shot of attention, which is Hollywood’s version of heroin for celebrities not actually hooked on heroin. For all their huffing and puffing, most would never really give up a chance to inflict their dumb politics on the world, and then bask in all the “likes” from their fans.
But then, Musk did the unforgivable: he took away their blue checks! Actually, he didn’t, really. He just changed the system so that instead of celebrities and politicians getting the “verified account” symbol while anyone else who wanted it had to jump through hoops, he made it simple: Anyone could get blue check verification for $8 a month, and he even threw in several extra benefits for the paid tier. Seems like a pretty good deal to me, and it gave Twitter a revenue stream other than intrusive ads.
Well, you would’ve thought he was demanding their first born, or worse, their Emmy Awards, from all the caterwauling by celebrities from Alyssa Milano to Lebron James. Maybe some of them actually couldn’t afford $8 a month, since their careers seem to have dwindled to writing nasty political diatribes on Twitter. But Lebron James? I think he can afford it.
To his credit, Elon responded by toying with them and tormenting them. For instance, he started a fundraiser to pay the $8 a month for celebrities who couldn’t afford it. Some tried to virtue signal by removing their blue checks and calling on others to do the same and to block anyone with a blue check. So Musk returned their blue checks for free, leaving them to rave and sputter that they didn’t pay for that. Check out the hilarious ways in which he's dealt with Charlie Sheen, Bette Midler and other hysterical, hypocritical (and really cheap) leftwing celebrities.
Wealthy author Stephen King also made a big public show of spurning his free blue check, snarking that Musk should give the $8 to Ukraine. Musk replied, “I’ve donated $100 million to Ukraine. How much have you donated?” FYI, he also provided Ukraine with satellite Internet service that’s one of the major reasons they’ve been able to fight back so effectively against Russia.
That last link is especially good because Bonchie at Redstate.com makes an excellent point about how empty these celebrities’ virtue signaling is – just put a Ukrainian flag on your Twitter profile and you’re morally superior to the guy who actually saved Ukraine and gave them $100 million. But beyond that, they also claim to care so much about “our democracy,” but when Musk really does democratize Twitter by making their perks available to everyone – or asks them to pay even a tiny subsidy for their special privileges - they explode like Mount Vesuvius. Where did they get the idea that a private corporation like Twitter owes them a worldwide forum for free? Do they get cable TV for free as well?
Full disclosure: I still have a Twitter blue check because I did what they refuse to do: I pay the eight lousy bucks a month. I think it’s worth it for the verification plus the extra benefits, that companies that provide me with a service deserve to get paid for it, and I don’t have a massive sense of entitlement. Let these celebs block me; they probably already have anyway. And when they finally end their tantrums, I predict that most of them will remain on Twitter because they can’t stand giving up the attention. Maybe some of them will even stick a crowbar in their wallets and pay for their privilege.