Elon Musk has said his X social media platform will pay the legal bills of people who have been treated unfairly by employers because of posting or liking something on the site formerly known as Twitter.
“If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill,” Musk posted. “No limit. Please let us know.”
It’s unclear how affected people can appeal for legal assistance or claim their money, although some have stated their interest by replying to Musk’s post.
Musk took over Twitter in October 2022 and changed its name to X in July 2023 as part of his plan to turn it into what he’s described as an “everything app” that combines the features of a social media platform, a payment app, and a financial services platform.
Musk is a self-described “free speech absolutist” and was vocal in his criticisms of Twitter’s policies on censoring content prior to his takeover. Musk said he wants X to be a trusted “digital town square” where people can express themselves freely and openly.
When he announced that he was taking over the platform in April last year, Musk spoke of his long-held concerns over free speech and censorship. He said, “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
Musk subsequently reinstated the accounts of figures who were banned under the old ownership, including Donald Trump and Kanye West, saying that a wide range of views are “tolerated provided people don’t break the law or spam.”
Many times people have been unfairly fired for liking or otherwise appearing to endorse a tweet by retweeting it, or just by following an account.
One example is video game employee Kara Lynne, who was fired by Limited Run Games for “following transphobic accounts” and “voicing excitement over Harry Potter game.”
Lynne – whose termination was triggered by a complaint from trans activist Jessica Blank – was tagged in Musk’s post and before he replied by asking her for more details.
The notion of giving financial aid to people who have been affected in similar fashion will be applauded by many who argue in favor of free speech.
Just this week, Thomas Jefferson University president Dr. Mark Tykocinski was forced to resign and apologize. He made the mistake of liking tweets critical of coronavirus vaccines, gender-affirmation surgery, and college diversity, equity and inclusion offices. Ironically, Tykocinski isn’t just an academic, he’s actually a medical doctor!
Tykocinski will continue to serve as a professor on the campus. Still, his egregious discrimination by the university made national news. You’d think a college named after Thomas Jefferson would know better! For one thing, this Founding Father wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was a forerunner to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Even though an “at will” employer can legally fire you for pretty much any reason or no reason at all, they aren’t allowed to violate the Constitution; i.e. their reason for letting you go must not conflict with the First Amendment / freedom of speech.
More people need to fight this type of politically motivated / opinion sanctioned firing. The problem is, most people generally work for large companies and can’t afford to stand up to their employer even if they are acting illegally. But now that another big company is offering to stand up to the initial company, they may think twice about the legal ramifications.
Elon Musk is the greatest first amendment hero the country has right now. He’s fighting for true free speech and putting his money where his mouth is – not just virtue signaling!
It’s stupid to punish people for liking something on social media anyway. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion. And just because a person “likes” a post doesn’t necessarily mean they endorse it. Perhaps they thought the article was well-written, or maybe they didn’t even read it. Maybe they wanted to support a friend of theirs, or maybe they clicked on the button by accident. Who cares???
It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.