A number of stars have spoken out against Elon Musk's 'new Twitter.'
Elon Musk officially took ownership of Twitter in October, ending months of back and forth over the $44-billion deal. It also kicked off an exodus from the app as users -- both famous and not -- took umbrage with how his acquisition seemingly allows more hate speech to be spewed from trolls and racists.
On Nov. 5, The Washington Post reported on The New Contagion Research Institute's (NCRI) discovery that use of the N-word on Twitter had increased 500 percent in the 12 hours since the announcement. In addition to increased use of the N-word, racial slurs against Black and Jewish people grew, as well as messages against women and the LGBTQ+ community. NCRI also reported an uptick in accounts advocating for the harassment and misgendering of trans public officials.
Among the users protesting the acquisition are several celebrities, who have announced their intention to quit the app.
On the Nov. 7 episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg shared that she was leaving the app, while summarizing Musk's first week at the company, which she called "a mess."
“I’m getting off today because I just feel like it’s so messy, and I’m tired of now having certain kinds of attitudes blocked now getting back on. So I’m gonna get out, and if it settles down enough and I feel more comfortable, maybe I’ll come back. But as of tonight, I’m done with Twitter.”
TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes also recently shared that she was making her exit from the app.
"Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye," the Grey's Anatomy creator tweeted.
Bill & Ted actor Alex Winter, This Is Us executive producer Ken Olin, and Billions showrunner Brian Koppelman joined Rhimes in announcing their intention to leave the platform.
Sara Bareilles tweeted, "Welp. It's been fun Twitter. I'm out. See you on other platforms, peeps. Sorry, this one's just not for me."
Toni Braxton tweeted, "I'm shocked and appalled at some of the 'free speech' I've seen on this platform since its acquisition. Hate speech under the veil of 'free speech' is unacceptable; therefore I am choosing to stay off Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for myself, my sons and other POC."
Wrestler Mick Foley said in April he'd consider leaving Twitter. "I'll be giving some serious thought to leaving Twitter for good in the near future," he wrote at the time. "I do not have a good feeling about where this platform is heading." As of Oct. 31, his Twitter account was deactivated.
Jenny Slate also announced her intention to leave, saying she had deactivated her account via an Instagram post shared on Nov. 12.
"Bye! Fyi, if someone says they are me...they are not," Slate wrote. "Unless it's me. But I'm not there anymore so it's not me just to be really clear."
Musician Jack White removed his accounts on Nov. 20. "So you gave Trump his Twitter platform back. Absolutely disgusting, Elon," White wrote in a letter on Instagram. "That is officially an a**hole move."
"You intend to give platforms to known liars and wash your hands like pontius pilate and claim no responsibility?" he continued.
Playbill, the theater news outlet, will also removed its accounts. "We feel we can no longer continue to utilize a platform where the line between actual news and insidious rhetoric has become blurred beyond recognition," Playbill said in the statement. According to CNN, @Playbill, @PlaybillTravel, @PLAYBILLder, @PlaybillArts, and @PlaybillStore are now inactive.
Some stars have elected to remain on the platform, including Star Trek icon George Takei. The actor confirmed he’s staying on Twitter, writing, "I'm not going anywhere. And my follower count actually rose! We need each other's voices and strength, and I've never shied from a fight. When Twitler and the other deplorable are let back on here, I'll be more than a thorn in their side."
Frozen's Josh Gad shared that he is thinking about exiting the app, writing, "Large exodus happening on this platform. Not sure if I stay or not. Leaning toward staying, but if today is a sign of things to come, not sure what the point is. Freedom of speech is great. Hate speech intended to incite harm, (with no consequences) ain't what I signed up for."
Director Rob Reiner tweeted, encouraging others to join him in staying, writing, "For those who are fighting to preserve our Constitutional Democracy, now is not the time to leave Twitter. Now is the time to VOTE BLUE!"
While he remains onsite, author Stephen King wrote that he would leave if the app committed to charging verified users $19.99 per month to retain their verified status and subscribe to Twitter Blue, a feature that unlocks additional features.
"$20 a month to keep my blue check? F-ck that, they should pay me," King wrote. "If that gets instituted, I'm gone like Enron."
Jim Carrey announced his departure from the app on Nov. 29, but not without sharing a cartoon he made first.
"I’m leaving Twitter, but 1st here’s a cartoon I made with my friend Jimmy Hayward. It’s based on my painting of a crazy old Lighthouse Keeper, standing naked in a storm, summoning the angels and shining his lamp to guide us through a treacherous night," the actor tweeted. "I love you all so much!"
On Dec. 9, Elton John announced that he was leaving tweeter.
"All my life I’ve tried to use music to bring people together. Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world," the music legend wrote. "I’ve decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked."
Musk has said he wants to promote free speech by loosening how Twitter moderates content. He said he doesn't want Twitter to become a "free-for-all hellscape," but he has signaled that he may restore the accounts of some former Twitter users who had been banned for violating the company's standards and policies.
On Nov. 5, Musk said Twitter would form what he called a "content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints," adding that no one whose account has been banned would be reinstated before that group has a chance to meet.