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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James reacted Saturday to a reported surge in hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform Thursday.
James responded to a report from Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz and Cat Zakrzewski of the Washington Post, which detailed findings from a research group known as the Network Contagion Research Institute. The NCRI said use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk took over.
LeBron tweeted the following, calling for Musk and Twitter to take the information seriously:
LeBron James @KingJames
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. <a href=”https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC”>https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC</a>
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and Clare Duffy reported Thursday that Musk had finalized a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk, who is a 51-year-old native of South Africa and the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken about his support for free speech, which has left some Twitter users bracing for the return of notable banned accounts, such as that of former United States President Donald Trump, who was removed from the platform in 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
It has also led to questions about whether accounts banned for racist rhetoric will be allowed back, or if accounts using racist language will be allowed to continue doing so.
In response to questions about the future of Twitter, Musk noted that a content moderation council will be created:
Musk also noted that no decisions regarding the potential reinstatement of accounts have been made, nor have any changes been made to the platform’s content moderation policy.
James is regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time and has 52.3 million followers on Twitter, making him one of the platform’s most influential users.
Regardless of Musk’s plans for Twitter, he will undoubtedly be made aware of LeBron’s concerns in the wake of his takeover.