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Elon Musk Accuses Stephen King of ‘Deadnaming’ X by Calling It Twitter

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Stephen King refuses to call Twitter by the new name Elon Musk picked for the social network, X. In a reply to the legendary horror writer, Musk attempted to make an anti-trans joke — accusing King of “deadnaming” the platform.

King on Wednesday wrote, “According to the New York Times, terrorists may be paying for blue check marks on Twitter (I refuse to call it X).”

Musk — instead of addressing the allegation that his company is taking money from known terrorist organizations — took the opportunity to mock deadnaming, in which someone uses a former name of a transgender person without their consent.

“Stop deadnaming 𝕏… Respect our transition 😂,” Musk wrote in response to King. The right-wing Libs of TikTok account chimed in, asking facetiously, “Is Stephen King transphobic?” Musk has previously ridiculed people who indicate their preferred pronouns, and he has said that X/Twitter has deemed “cis” and “cisgender” to be anti-heterosexual “slurs.”

King was referring to the Times’ Feb. 14 story about a report from the Tech Transparency Project that found X was “potentially violating U.S. sanctions” by accepting payments “from accounts that include Hezbollah leaders, Houthi groups, and state-run media outlets in Iran and Russia” for the X Premium service, which gives subscribers verified check-mark status.

Musk has not commented on the TTP report. In a statement, X said, “Our teams have reviewed the report and will take action if necessary. We’re always committed to ensuring that we maintain a safe, secure and compliant platform.”

Meanwhile, King has previously expressed his displeasure over Musk’s changing the name of the social network. In a July 2023 post, he wrote, “Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter. And in case you didn’t get that: Twitter.”

And King and Musk have previously sparred on X/Twitter. In October 2022, King, responding to a report that Twitter going to charge for blue check-marks, wrote, “Fuck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” The legendary horror writer added, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.” Musk at the time replied to King, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8 [per month]?”

In April 2023, Musk purged most of Twitter’s legacy verified accounts — after disparaging the previous verification policy as “corrupt and nonsensical” — removing blue check marks of multiple high-profile accounts. Supposedly, anyone who wanted a blue check mark would need to subscribe to Twitter Blue (now called X Premium), which costs $8/month and up. In the wake of that move, King expressed confusion about the situation, tweeting, “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.” Musk later claimed he was “personally” paying of King’s premium account and replied to the writer, “You’re welcome namaste 🙏.” A few days later, Twitter had restored check marks for hundreds of celebrities, including for those who said they weren’t paying the fee (as well as for several who are dead).



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