Within hours of taking over Twitter, Elon Musk promised advertisers that the social media platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape,” insisting that speech promoting violence and toxic propaganda would not be tolerated. But Musk on Sunday used the platform he now owns to amplify a baseless conspiracy theory about the hammer attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband by an intruder.
The attack was carried out by David DePape, 42, a Bay Area man who has promoted QAnon ideas and other far-right conspiracy theories online, authorities said.
But Musk decided to cast some doubt on the story.
“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” Musk tweeted Sunday morning in reply to a tweet by Hillary Clinton blasting the Republican Party for creating a toxic environment that lays the groundwork for violence against politicians.
Musk linked out to a story in an online right-wing conspiracy blog called the Santa Monica Observer claiming that the suspect did not break into the Pelosis’ San Francisco home hunting for Nancy. Instead, the publication alleged that Paul Pelosi, 82, was in a relationship with a male sex worker.
As the Los Angeles Times has reported, Santa Monica Observer has been the source of other patently false, ridiculous articles, “including one that a body double for Hillary Clinton was sent to a debate with Donald Trump and that Kanye West was given a top job in the Interior Department.”
Musk’s abhorrent tweet comes just hours after Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she and her family are “heartbroken and traumatized” by the attack on Paul, which left him with a fractured skull that had to be repaired in surgery.
Check Musk’s tweet and some of the responses below:
There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye https://t.co/HCaF5DrRjP
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 30, 2022
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) October 30, 2022
Please delete your tweet. Then delete your account until you grow up. https://t.co/t8kbWHdKhW
— Chris J Cavanagh 🇺🇦 (@ChrisJCav) October 30, 2022
Oh my goodness! My Grandma is 74 next year and she didn’t fight two world wars for this!
— Davetherave (@Davethe25219352) October 30, 2022
There's a tiny possibility based on this image you were connected to this woman… pic.twitter.com/3Ca1AeysZ7
— Devin Duke, PhD (@sirDukeDevin) October 30, 2022
Great start, Elon, using a source that once claimed that Hillary Clinton had died. Is this a harbinger of massive amounts of disinformation under your “watch” ?
— Mark Sefton (@seftonm) October 30, 2022
It might be time to consider leaving Twitter. The level of irresponsiblity shown by its owner makes it useless as a space of fair and open debate and even dangerous. I don't think Musk can self-monitor to manage this responsibly.
— ASha "I stand with Ukraine " Qali (@HooyoCanjeelo) October 30, 2022
Great job turning Twitter into 4Chan in your first few days on the job.
— Nicole Spooky Name (@NoNameGirl8686) October 30, 2022