“All these celebrities and all of us should encourage free speech,” Earhardt said on Monday, in response to Musk’s Sunday tweet. “We shouldn’t encourage censorship and control as long as it doesn’t lead to violence.”
She also defended Musk, saying, “He says he wants to hear from Democrats and from Republicans, and then people can make up their own minds. It’s important to the future of civilization to have a digital town square. A range of beliefs, without resorting to violence.”
This all started Sunday — just days after Musk’s purchase of the social media platform fueled concerns that misinformation and hate speech would no longer be limited — when Musk replied to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a wild conspiracy theory about the recent violent attack on Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
Clinton’s tweet had criticized Republicans for spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories.” In response, Musk provided a link to an article by the Santa Monica Observer, a fringe website that is known for its baseless claims (including one that Clinton had died and a body double performed in a debate with Donald Trump), and added “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.”
In this case, the article spread a claim that the attack on Pelosi was brought upon him by his own personal life and that he knew his attacker. However, there is no evidence to support that theory.
Musk deleted the tweet a few hours later, though it had, of course, already gone viral. San Francisco police also came out and said that the attack was indeed a break-in.