Mere days after condemning Elon Musk’s reinstatement of former president Donald Trump’s account on Twitter, Sam Harris quietly deleted his own.
“The prevailing opinion among ‘free speech absolutists’ appears to be that this platform, in order to become healthy, must helplessly publish the malicious lies of any maniac, at scale, regardless of the consequences. Good luck with that,” Harris tweeted last Saturday after Musk’s infamous poll that asked Twitter users whether Trump should be allowed to return to the platform.
This news comes on the heels of Harris’s appearance on Bill Maher’s podcast, Club Random, during which the former discussed how much flak he had caught for his remarks that suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story was justified in order to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency in 2020. Harris had made these controversial comments in August. “I don’t care what’s in Hunter Biden’s laptop,” Harris had told the hosts of the podcast Triggernometry. “At that point, Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement. I would not have cared.”
Harris challenged the evolving free-speech guidelines Musk has been implementing. The prospect of Trump’s return to Twitter seems to have been the last straw for Harris.
The news rippled across the so-called intellectual dark web (IDW), a loose affiliation of commentators and pundits who were once unified in their opposition to political correctness and free speech. Claire Lehmann, founder of the online publication Quillette, also quit Twitter.
Podcaster Dave Rubin announced on Twitter, “We all tried with varying degrees of success/failure to make sense of the craziness. I think he [Harris] had some big misses which he refused to acknowledge and became resentful of people who saw it differently. And social media isn’t very forgiving. Is what it is. Happy Thanksgiving.”
Another longtime friend of Harris’s and former IDW ally, Eric Weinstein, checked in with Harris personally to confirm whether he was indeed leaving the platform: “Checked in with Sam. He did it himself. I gotta admit, my model of many things needs a tune up. I logged quite a few hours in conversation with @SamHarrisOrg from 2016–2019. They are not helping me to predict Sam in [the] last couple years. I wouldn’t have guessed this for example,” Weinstein tweeted in the afternoon on Thanksgiving.
Academic Gad Saad said much the same commenting on Weinstein’s post. “Unlike you, I don’t suffer fools gladly. I called him out on some of his positions. He unfollowed me then blocked me and now closed his account. A honey badger he’s not.”
Some conservative commentators applauded Harris’s disappearance as justified comeuppance. “He dehumanized half of America on air. Then doubled down. He can go to Hell,” Sebastian Gorka tweeted.
Candace Owens also joined the dogpile: “As a reminder, @SamHarrisOrg, you called me a ‘blowhard and ignoramus’ because of my covid stance. Turns out you were sorely wrong but too convinced by your education to see what was plainly obvious. Free speech keeps society safe from arrogant pricks.”
Harris made no statement or final tweet before quitting the platform.