In his latest, greatest achievement, Elon Musk has managed to do something offensive in three different countries in less than 24 hours.
The X (formerly Twitter) owner has come under fire recently for how much hate speech, antisemitism, and extremist content has flourished on the social network—including from Musk’s personal account. Rather than address a problem that has advertisers rankled anew, he spent the weekend exacerbating these problems.
On Sunday night, Musk weighed in on a new law proposed in Ireland, meant to curtail online hate speech. Irish lawmakers announced they plan to enact a law to crack down on racist hate speech online, a move that would make certain extremist memes and other online content illegal, in response to anti-immigration riots that roiled Dublin last week.
In one particularly harrowing incident, a man attacked five people outside an elementary school on Thursday, injuring at least three children and one woman. Police did not reveal the man’s identity to the public, but rumors began to spread that he was an Algerian national, sparking violent protests in central Dublin.
Naturally, Musk was averse to the efforts to combat hate speech and violent rhetoric. “Language being proposed as law in Ireland means this could literally happen to you for having a meme on your phone,” Musk tweeted, setting off a firestorm of far-right conspiracies in his comments.
This isn’t the first time Musk has felt the need to butt into Irish politics. In September, he opposed the country’s first anti–hate speech law, arguing that it infringed on freedom of speech. But Musk has made clear that his idea of free speech is simply the right to say whatever you want with no repercussions. That is, provided that you aren’t using your free speech to criticize him.
It may be that Musk doesn’t want limits placed on his own social media activity, which in recent weeks has included repeatedly sharing antisemitic content on X. And yet, on Monday, he flew to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders. While there, Musk toured several areas that had been attacked by Hamas.
His warm welcome is shocking considering that just two weeks ago, Musk endorsed a violently antisemitic conspiracy theory that argued Jewish communities hate white people. Meanwhile, multiple major advertisers have yanked their business from X following a report that the platform has been placing brand ads next to posts that promote Hitler and Nazi beliefs.
All of Musk’s antics are not going over so well in France, however. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced Monday that she has quit X because it is a “gigantic global sewer” that is “destroying our democracies.”
In the little more than a year that Musk has owned X, he has decimated the platform’s value. Meanwhile, hate speech has flourished during his reign. This change occurred nearly immediately: The social media research group National Contagion Research Institute found that in the 12 hours after Musk bought X, the use of the n-word increased almost 500 percent.
Musk is often a major source of this hate speech and disinformation. In addition to promulgating aggressively antisemitic posts, Musk has been highly solicitous to neo-Nazi posters on X, habitually shared transphobic content, and repeatedly spread conspiracy theories.