Kathy Griffin was suspended from Twitter after using her account to impersonate Elon Musk. After Griffin and other people changed their display names to “Elon Musk,” the new Twitter chief tweeted that accounts that engage in impersonation will be permanently suspended.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Musk said unless the impersonation is clearly a parody, the person behind it will be suspended. He also said there will no be warning before suspension, which was customary before.
Musk announced last week that those who want a blue check that verifies their account will now have to pay $7.99 a month, a subscription plan he is calling “Twitter Blue.”
The blue checks used to verify the identities of public figures on the platform. It appears anyone will be able to pay for a blue check now, which could lead to confusion and a rise in disinformation. A person who pays for blue check could, in theory, change their name on the platform and appear to be a verified celebrity.
However, Musk said changing the name of a verified account could lead to a temporary loss of the blue check.
Griffin had changed her display name and her profile picture to a photo of Musk, she told Bloomberg. Those who didn’t look close would assume it was Musk’s account.
After being suspended, Griffin posted on Mastodon, an alternative social media platform. “I guess not ALL the content moderators were let go? Lol,” she joked.
Musk also commented on Griffin’s suspension with a dig at the comedian. When someone tweeted that Griffin was suspended for impersonating Musk, he replied: “Actually, she was suspended for impersonating a comedian.”
Over on Mastodon, Griffin continued to post about how she was “wreaking havoc” on Twitter, calling Musk a “drama queen.” She also started to tweet from her mother, Maggie Griffin’s Twitter account. She died in 2020, and her account had not posted any updates since 2019.
Griffin tweeted #FreeKathy from her mother’s account and retweeted people who did the same, including “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill. She soon started trending on Twitter. She said Musk tweeted to her mom’s account, but there is no evidence of him doing so.
Griffin has been embroiled in a Twitter controversy before, when she tweeted an offensive image of her holding a likeness of former President Donald Trump’s head in 2017. The comedian posted an apology video, but faced consequences: Her comedy tour was canceled, she lost endorsements and she said she was under investigation for conspiracy to assassinate the president.
Over the weekend, actor and cooking show host Valerie Bertinelli also changed her Twitter name to Elon Musk and tweeted support for Democratic candidates, so it looked like Musk was doing so. She quickly changed back to her true identity and was not suspended.
“Okey-dokey I’ve had my fun and I think I made my point. I’m just not a ‘trending’ kind of gal. Never have been, never want to be. Have a safe Sunday everyone!” Bertinelli tweeted.