Kathy Griffin continued to troll Elon Musk on Twitter overnight Sunday after he banned her from his newly acquired social media company, resurrecting her dead mother’s Twitter account to call the billionaire a “hack,” and worse, and helping to foment a backlash against his claim of making Twitter a bastion of free speech.
The Twitter accounts of Griffin, Sarah Silverman, “Mad Men” actor Rick Silver and others were suspended Sunday for changing their usernames and photos to match Musk’s, the Daily Beast reported. As a faux Musk, Griffin pushed her more than 2 million followers to vote for Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections. She tweeted, “After much spirited discussion with the females in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right (They’re also sexy females, btw.)”
Musk responded to the fake accounts Sunday by saying that Twitter would permanently remove accounts that are “engaging in impersonation,” without clearly specifying that they are “parody” accounts. The Tesla CEO also said that users would get no warning before suspension, as they would previously, as “we are rolling out widespread verification.”
The Daily Beast said that Griffin and other celebrities had impersonated Musk’s account in recent days to humorously protest his takeover of the social network.
Trumpeting the #FreeKathy hashtag, Griffin announced her return to Twitter late Sunday afternoon, by tweeting under the account of her late mother, Maggie Griffin, who died in 2020.
— Maggie Griffin (@TipItMaggieG) November 7, 2022
Under Maggie Griffin, the comedian replied to Musk’s suspension announcement to say, “I’m back from the grave to say… #FreeKathy #TipIt.”
Musk tried to crack a joke about Griffin’s suspension by tweeting, “Actually, she was suspended for impersonating a comedian.” He also quipped, “But if she really wants her account back, she can have it …for $8.”
Griffin, also under her mother’s handle, shot back at Musk’s “impersonating a comedian” joke.
“I mean… you stole that joke, you (expletive),” Griffin wrote. “People have been posting that joke for hours, you hack. Look, please do a better job running this company. It used to mean something. This is KG btw.”
Musk appeared to respond to the outrage over Griffin’s suspension by tweeting, “Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.” He also insisted that he remains committed to free speech by saying, “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”
My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Maggie Griffin’s account hadn’t been active since 2019, but Griffin insisted that her mother wouldn’t mind her appropriating it, after another Twitter user pointed out that she already had been suspended for impersonating Musk and was now doing the same under her mother’s name.
“Oh, for gods sake Andy, look at the date on the tweet you are referencing,” Griffin wrote. “It is from 2019. My wonderful mother had an account that I ran for her. She passed away, but I always kept the account. Trust me, she would be with me on this. Relax.”
Prompted by Griffin, the #FreeKathy hashtag was trending Sunday night. Musk supporters defended him by saying he now owns Twitter, so he can do what he wants and Griffin was foolish to think she can defy him.
But the #FreeKathy enthusiasts called Musk a “snowflake” who suspends a comedian but who would consider reinstating a “traitorous” Trump, a “poor baby billionaire who can’t take a joke,” or someone so “thin-skinned” he needs to suspend a female comedian to feel “like a big man”
— googoomuck (@googoomuck8) November 6, 2022
— Lisa Fetter 🌊 (@lisa_fetter) November 7, 2022
— Lisa Fetter 🌊 (@lisa_fetter) November 7, 2022
Others, who even said they were not fans of Griffin, pointed out that Musk himself had proclaimed that under his leadership, comedy would now be “legal” on Twitter.
“#FreeKathy. I think Kathy is a lousy comedian but saying ‘comedy is now legal,’ yet suspending someone because their harmless joke hurt your feelings. It ain’t like she was being racist or saying other bigot stuff. Not groovy, man.”
#FreeKathy I think Kathy is a lousy comedian but saying “comedy is now legal” yet suspending someone because their harmless joke hurt your feelings. It ain’t like she was being racist or saying other bigot stuff. Not groovy, man. pic.twitter.com/Mre6ThsgjI
— 🔞Kï††¥ ßlåq- B1 🏳️⚧️ 🏳️🌈 🧛🏿♀️🎃👻💀 (@kitty_blaq94) November 7, 2022
They also said that Musk’s “excessive response” — not giving a warning before permanently suspending accounts — suggests that Twitter is not being helmed “in a rational manner.”
Really now, even if you’re upset with being parodied and the fault in your proposed policies being pointed out, suspending @kathygriffin is an excessive response and only adds to the sentiment that Twitter is not being helmed in a rational manner. pic.twitter.com/5bR2eBI8zm
— Gene Wilk (@IamGeneWilk) November 7, 2022
In the end, someone may have gotten the last laugh, as well as 10,000 likes, by yet again impersonating Musk, in defiance of his new rules, to announce that Griffin would be welcomed back:
Sensing an “I’m Spartacus” trend pic.twitter.com/YJKK42OKHG
— Catherine McCarthy (@CathMcCarthy77) November 7, 2022