Another week, another instance of Elon Musk picking a fight with someone online. Previously, the ADL and Media Matters have been targets of the billionaire’s ire (and, in the latter case, a lawsuit). Now, Musk has taken a rhetorical swing at Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the wake of anti-immigrant rioting in Dublin.
As Business Insider‘s Polly Thompson reports, Musk made his comments in the wake of Varadkar calling for an update to Ireland’s laws governing speech that leads to violence. “We will modernize our laws against incitement to hatred and hatred in general,” Varadkar said — and implied that the nation’s existing laws were no longer suitable for an era in which social media is widely used.
Some context for Varadkar’s comments: news reports in the wake of the Dublin riots cited a significant uptick in activity on social media used by far-right extremists before the rioting took place.
In response to a post from “Sir Doge of the Coin” about the proposed updating of the legislation, Musk could have opted to respond in a nuanced manner. He did not. “Ironically, the Irish PM hates the Irish people,” he replied. A day later, he reiterated his position. “[T]he government will define ‘hate speech’. The people of Ireland should not stand for this!” he wrote, this time in response to a post from a user known only as (sigh) “End Wokeness.”
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In the wake of a lawsuit over Tesla’s self-driving feature being given the goahead, the high-profile explosion of a SpaceX rocket and the debut of the Cybertruck, you might think that Musk has better things to do than pick fights with a head of state on the social network he owns. Unfortunately, you’d be mistaken.
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