NBA star LeBron James on Saturday called on new Twitter owner Elon Musk to respond to the “scary AF” increase in the use of the N-word on the social media platform.
James tweeted in response to a post sharing a Business Insider article that reported, based on what a social media research group told The Washington Post, that the use of the racial slur increased by 500 percent after Musk’s takeover of Twitter on Thursday.
“I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter,” James wrote. “But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF.”
The Los Angeles Lakers player added: “So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”
The Hill reported Friday that the number of racist and antisemitic tweets appeared to be spiking following Musk’s takeover of the platform, despite a lack of official changes to Twitter’s hate speech policies.
Musk has defined himself as a “free speech absolutist,” and has said that his purchase of Twitter was partially motivated by his belief that the existence of a “common digital town square” where a “wide range of beliefs can be debated” is important for civilization’s future.
Some Twitter users indicated Friday that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s new ownership of the platform had emboldened them to post hateful content.
“Elon now controls twitter. Unleash the racial slurs,” wrote one account.
However, Musk posted a message to advertisers Thursday saying that he wanted the social media site to be “warm and welcoming to all” and that his vision for looser content moderation would not mean that “anything can be said with no consequences.”
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape,” the multibillionaire wrote in Thursday’s statement.