Comedian Kathy Griffin has spoken out after Twitter suspended her for impersonating the company’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk.
Griffin caused a stir over the weekend by jumping on the trend of impersonating Musk on Twitter, with tweets such as:
\u201cElon Musk suspended @KathyGriffin for "impersonating" him.\n\nConsidering @kathygriffin is listed clearly on the profile, it's only "impersonation" to really stupid people.\u201d— Michael J. Stern (@Michael J. Stern) 1667842361
Musk responded on Sunday with this warning:
Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.
This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2022
Griffin's account was suspended under the new guidelines, but she returned to the platform using her late mother Maggie's account and tweeted the hashtag "#FreeKathy." Maggie Griffin died in 2020. Her account has not been active since 2019, when the comedian used it to ask for help after her Facebook and Instagram profiles were hacked.
You can see Griffin's message below.
Griffin later followed up that tweet by tweeting a direct response to Musk, who announced that any accounts "engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying 'parody'" would be permanently suspended from the platform.
\u201c@elonmusk I\u2019m back from the grave to say\u2026\n#FreeKathy \n#TipIt\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1667775222
Griffin—who enjoyed a very close relationship with her mother—said her mother "would not mind" that she is using her Twitter account for the purpose of calling out Musk.
\u201c@karaswisher Apologize in advance for all the comments you\u2019re gonna have to read about how ugly I am and they\u2019re probably gonna throw you in there too. Oh by the way this is KG. I\u2019m tweeting from my dead mother\u2019s account. She would not mind. #FreeKathy\u201d— Kara Swisher (@Kara Swisher) 1667782608
She also shut down critics who suggested she was now impersonating her late mother, noting that she had always run the account for her.
\u201c@MrAndyNgo @elonmusk Oh, for gods sake Andy, look at the date on the tweet you are referencing. It is from 2019. My wonderful mother had an account that I ran for her. She passed away, but I always kept the account. Trust me, she would be with me on this. Relax. #FreeKathy\u201d— Andy Ng\u00f4 \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08 (@Andy Ng\u00f4 \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08) 1667789330
Musk later hit back at Griffin directly, saying that her account was suspended because she had been "impersonating a comedian." Griffin, however, took him to task for the comment immediately, calling him a "hack" and demanding that he "please do a better job running this company."
Musk later responded that if Griffin wants her account back, she can pay $8, which is the monthly cost of Musk's newly announced blue checkmark verification subscription.
Many have come to Griffin's defense and criticized Musk in light of the drama surrounding her suspended account.
\u201cim convinced all the people offended by this aren\u2019t close with their own family\u201d— ellis \u272f (@ellis \u272f) 1667795545
\u201cHe just admits that he bought this because his feelings are hurt.\n\nAnd there are still multitudes licking his boots.\u201d— The Six of Parody (@The Six of Parody) 1667795833
\u201cActually, you are impersonating an intelligent human.\u201d— PeeonMusk (@PeeonMusk) 1667840870
\u201cOmfg, I just can\u2019t believe how much I love Twitter \ud83e\udd23\ud83e\udd23\ud83d\ude2d\ud83d\ude2d\ud83d\ude2d #FreeKathy (it\u2019s Kathy\ud83d\udc47\ud83c\udffc)\u201d— Jenny Q Ta (@Jenny Q Ta) 1667788735
\u201cKathy is tweeting from her moms old twitter account. Follow and retweet her! \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc51#KathyGriffin #FreeKathy #VoteBlue #ElonMuskIsATroll #ElonMusk #FreeSpeech\u201d— Alex Rafael (@Alex Rafael) 1667792695
Griffin isn't the only high-profile figure to make headlines for impersonating Musk.
Comedian Sarah Silverman also used her verified account to troll Musk, copying his profile picture, cover image, and name. In fact, the only thing that distinguished her account from Musk's was her @SarahKSilverman Twitter handle.
Twitter labeled Silverman's account as "temporarily restricted" over the weekend because of "unusual activity."
The trend was kicked off by actress Valerie Bertinelli—best known for the shows One Day at a Time and Hot in Cleveland—who impersonated Musk and used the Twitter account to tweet support for Democrats ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections.
Bertinelli, who goes by the handle @WolfiesMom, has not had her account suspended.