In an interview with the BBC, Twitter CEO Elon Musk humiliated a journalist who tried to say “hateful” content has increased on Twitter since he bought the social media platform. The journalist, however, lost complete control of the interview after Musk simply asked for one example.
On Tuesday, Musk sat down with BBC journalist James Clayton for an interview, who suggested that, since Musk’s takeover of the site, hateful content has increased.
Musk asked if he could define what he meant by “hateful,” to which Clayton responded, “Yeah… I mean, you know, just content that will solicit a reaction. Something that may include something that is slightly racist or slightly sexist. Those kinds of – those kinds of things.”
“So, if something is slightly sexist it should be banned?” asked Musk.
“No,” said Clayton.” I’m not saying anything. I’m saying-”
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“Well, I’m just curious,” said Musk, clearly explaining to the journalist what he was asking. “I’m trying to understand what you mean by ‘hateful content’ and I’m asking for specific examples. And you just said that if something is slightly sexist, that’s hateful content. Does that mean that it should be banned?”
Changing the subject, the embarrassed journalist said, “You’ve asked me whether my feed – whether it’s got less or more [hateful content], I’d say it’s got slightly more.”
Musk, the second-richest person in the world, did not take kindly to the journalist’s baseless accusations and continued to push him for a legitimate answer.
“That’s why I’m asking for examples,” Musk calmly clarified. “Can you name one example?”
Clearly flustered, Clayton stuttered, “I honestly don’t – Honestly, I- I”
“You can’t name a single example?” asked Musk.
“I’ll tell you why, because I don’t actually use the ‘For You’ feed anymore, because I just don’t particularly like it,” Clayton replied. “A lot of people are quite similar. I only look at my ‘Following.’
“Well, hang on a second,” interjected Musk. “You said you’ve seen more hateful content, but you can’t name a single example, not even one.”
Trying to save face, the journalist said that he hasn’t used his ‘For You’ feed “for the last three or four weeks.”
“Well then how did you see that hateful content?” Musk asked.
The Twitter CEO had now clearly taken over the interview.
“Because I’ve been using Twitter since you’ve taken over for the last six months,” Clayton said.
“Okay, so then you must have, at some point, seen the ‘For You’ hateful content. I’m asking for one example,” Musk pressed. “You can’t give a single one.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Because you can’t give me a single example of hateful content. Not even one tweet. And yet you’ve claimed that the hateful content was high.”
“You just lied,” Musk said.
Trying to backtrack now, Clayton insisted that what he was saying all along is that there are “many organizations that say that kind of information is on the rise.”
Musk again asked for one example, which Clayton, of course, could not provide.
Clayton was now desperately looking at the people behind the cameras for support and decided it was best if they end the conversation, saying, “I don’t think this is getting anywhere… Let’s move on.”
Elon: "You can't give me a single example of this 'hateful content.' Name a single example"
Journalist: "…Let's move on!" pic.twitter.com/8yH3OFgS2K
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 12, 2023