Television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes announced Saturday that she is quitting Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk officially taking ownership of the app.
“Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” creator tweeted Saturday morning to her 1.9 million followers.
Rhimes’ decision to leave comes just over a day since Musk confirmed that “the bird is freed,” signifying that his months-long legal battle to acquire the app had come to an end. The New Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) reported that use of the N-word on Twitter had increased 500% in the 12 hours since the announcement.
Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 29, 2022
Conservative figures like Matt Walsh and Candace Owens rejoiced at the news, while Musk fanned the flames with tweets like “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.”
Rhimes is the latest figure to condemn Musk’s “new Twitter,” which promises to be a “#FreeSpeech” haven for those who feel they have been censored by the platform’s content moderation policies.
“Twitter feels a little like America may feel if the Republicans take back Congress,” George Takei tweeted. “All the crazies would immediately begin testing the awful limits of how far they can push things.”
LeBron James expressed deep concern over the NCRI report, writing: “I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”
On Friday, Musk stated plans to form “a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” emphasizing that nothing would change until the council convened. He also penned an open letter to advertisers promising that the platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” and that it “must be warm and welcoming to all.”
However, the finalization of the $44 billion deal – and subsequent firing of Twitter’s CEO, CFO, and head of legal policy, trust and safety – had an immediate affect on the platform’s content.
In addition to increased use of the N-word, racials slurs against Black and Jewish people abounded, as well as messages discriminating against women and the LGBTQ+ community. The Washington Post reported an uptick in accounts advocating for the harassment and misgendering of public figures who identify as trans.
Consequently, debates over whether or not to leave Twitter have reignited, with a handful of high-profile figures following Rhimes out the door. “Bill & Ted” actor Alex Winter, “This Is Us” executive producer Ken Olin and “Billions” showrunner Brian Koppelman have all decamped from the platform, at least for now. But several more are arguing that leaving will only allow for misinformation and hate speech to spread at a faster rate.
According to epidemiologist and public health official Erin Feigl-Ding, “Leaving twitter just leaves too much power for the other side. It’s like not voting – your lack of a vote is ceding power to others who do engage.”
Back in April, when Musk first acquired a stake in the company, several celebrities said they would depart should Musk take over – among them, Jameela Jamil, Mia Farrow, Yvette Nicole Brown and Rob Reiner, all of whom remain on Twitter as of Saturday morning.