Elon Musk officially took ownership of Twitter last week, ending months of back and forth over the $44-billion deal. It also kicked off an exodus from the app as users – both famous and not – took umbrage with how his acquisition seemingly allows more hate speech to be spewed from trolls and racists.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported on The New Contagion Research Institute’s (NCRI) discovery that use of the N-word on Twitter had increased 500 percent in the 12 hours since the announcement. In addition to increased use of the N-word, racial slurs against Black and Jewish people grew, as well as messages against women and the LGBTQ+ community. NCRI also reported an uptick in accounts advocating for the harassment and misgendering of trans public officials.

Conservative figures like Candace Owens rejoiced at the news, while Musk fueled the divisive flames by tweeting statements like, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.”

Among the users protesting the acquisition, several celebrities have announced their intention to quit the app.

On Monday’s episode of “The View”, Whoopi Goldberg shared that she was leaving the app, while summarizing Musk’s first week at the company, which she called “a mess.”

“I’m getting off today because I just feel like it’s so messy, and I’m tired of now having certain kinds of attitudes blocked now getting back on. So I’m gonna get out, and if it settles down enough and I feel more comfortable, maybe I’ll come back. But as of tonight, I’m done with Twitter.”

TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes also shared, over the weekend, that she was making her exit from the app.

“Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” creator tweeted Saturday morning.

“Bill & Ted” actor Alex Winter, “This Is Us” executive producer Ken Olin, and “Billions” showrunner Brian Koppelman joined Rhimes in announcing their intention to leave the platform.

Sara Bareilles tweeted, “Welp. It’s been fun Twitter. I’m out. See you on other platforms, peeps. Sorry, this one’s just not for me.”

Toni Braxton tweeted, “I’m shocked and appalled at some of the ‘free speech’ I’ve seen on this platform since its acquisition. Hate speech under the veil of ‘free speech’ is unacceptable; therefore I am choosing to stay off Twitter as it is no longer a safe space for myself, my sons and other POC.”

Wrestler Mick Foley said in April he’d consider leaving Twitter. “I’ll be giving some serious thought to leaving Twitter for good in the near future,” he wrote. “I do not have a good feeling about where this platform is heading.” As of October 31, his Twitter account was deactivated.

Some stars have elected to remain on the platform, including “Star Trek” icon George Takei. The actor confirmed he’s staying on Twitter, writing, “I’m not going anywhere. And my follower count actually rose! We need each other’s voices and strength, and I’ve never shied from a fight. When Twitler and the other deplorable are let back on here, I’ll be more than a thorn in their side.”

“Frozen'”s Josh Gad shared that he is thinking about exiting the app, writing, “Large exodus happening on this platform. Not sure if I stay or not. Leaning toward staying, but if today is a sign of things to come, not sure what the point is. Freedom of speech is great. Hate speech intended to incite harm, (with no consequences) ain’t what I signed up for.”

Director Rob Reiner tweeted, encouraging others to join him in staying, writing, “For those who are fighting to preserve our Constitutional Democracy, now is not the time to leave Twitter. Now is the time to VOTE BLUE!”

While he remains onsite, author Stephen King wrote that he would leave if the app committed to charging verified users $19.99 per month to retain their verified status and subscribe to Twitter Blue, a feature that unlocks additional features.

“$20 a month to keep my blue check? F-ck that, they should pay me,” King wrote. “If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.”

Musk has said he wants to promote free speech by loosening how Twitter moderates content. He said he doesn’t want Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape,” but he has signaled that he may restore the accounts of some former Twitter users who had been banned for violating the company’s standards and policies.

On Friday, Musk said Twitter would form what he called a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” adding that no one whose account has been banned would be reinstated before that group has a chance to meet.


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