Twitter owner Elon Musk on Thursday scolded and corrected the team at Twitter that canceled a deal with the Daily Wire to host its blockbuster documentary, What Is a Woman? over “misgendering” concerns.
“This was a mistake by many people at Twitter,” the Twitter CEO tweeted in response to a statement from Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing. “It is definitely allowed. Whether or not you agree with using someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws.”
Musk added that he personally addresses people by their preferred pronouns to be polite. “However, for the same reason, I object to rude behavior, ostracism or threats of violence if the wrong pronoun or name is used,” he clarified.
Earlier Thursday, Boreing blasted Twitter for discontinuing their collaboration to promote the film because subjects in it failed to refer to certain transgender individuals by their preferred pronouns. In response to Musk’s apology, Boreing said: “We posted the two clips flagged by Twitter and they were indeed labeled ‘hateful conduct’ and the share functions were disabled on the posts.”
“We are trying to reach your team to determine what this means for those posts, whether or not our event tonight will be allowed to proceed unencumbered, and whether or not we will be allowed to purchase the live event page and reach block as originally agreed,” he added.
Boreing said the company planned to celebrate the anniversary of the film’s release by providing it to Twitter users for free for 24 hours. Twitter allegedly accepted the pitch “with enthusiasm,” Boreing wrote in a statement, and “offered us the opportunity to buy a package to host the movie on a dedicated event page and to promote the event to every Twitter user over the first 10 hours.”
After the Daily Wire signed an agreement, Boreing said, Twitter asked to view the movie to determine if any parts would generate backlash or “trigger” users. Twitter then terminated the arrangement, including to help with visibility, and warned that it would actually limit its exposure to viewers and label it as “hateful conduct” because of incidents of “misgendering” in the film, according to Boreing.
The flagged violations included a scene in which a father refers to his 14-year-old daughter, who presumably identifies as a boy, as “her” as well as a scene in which a store owner called a transgender person by pronouns aligned with the person’s biological sex.
Boering said his company reminder Twitter of its recent revisions to content moderation and commitments to free speech, spearheaded by new CEO Elon Musk, which included removing “misgendering” as a content offense. Twitter then stated that it still deemed misgendering a form of online harassment and abuse even though it is not longer mentioned in its policy, Boreing alleged.
“They gave us the opportunity to edit the film to comply,” he added. “We declined.”
Twitter threatened to dramatically restrict the documentary’s visibility, Boreing said, preventing even the Daily Wire’s own followers from seeing it. The movie will still be posted Thursday night at 8:00 p.m., Boreing updated.
“Will Twitter make good on their threat to throttle it and label it ‘hateful conduct,’ or will Twitter live up to its great promise?,” Boreing tweeted. “We’ll all find out together.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment and confirmation of Boreing’s account.
Even though Musk claims to have turned Twitter’s ship around in terms of suppression of speech, many users have reported that the platform’s algorithm still limits the spread of politically conservative ideas, driven by middle managers that exercise some independence from the top. Since taking the helm, Musk has come under fire for certain innovations he’s implemented, like the Twitter Blue verification program that charges users for a blue “check” without actually authenticating their identity. Governor DeSantis’s 2024 presidential launch on Twitter Spaces last week was marred by technical difficulties as massive turnout overwhelmed the servers, significantly delaying the announcement.