Elon Musk Hints He Knows Who Is to Blame for Twitter's Past Tolerance of Child Sexual Exploitation

FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2016, file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk listens as President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with technology industry leaders at Trump Tower in New York. Musk, who’s been known for his quirky behavior, came under scrutiny after the conference call for Tesla’s quarterly earnings Wednesday, May 2, 2018 went awry. He was criticized for cutting off two analysts that asked about the electric vehicle and solar panel company’s cash needs and orders for its Model-3. Musk called the questions “dry” and “not cool.” (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Friday, Twitter’s “Trust and Safety Council” resigned in protest over Elon Musk’s opening Twitter to diverse opinions (Twitter’s ‘Trust and Safety Council’ Resigns in Protest and Elon Musk Evaluates Their Performance). While ostensibly they were supposed to guide Twitter’s fight against the platform’s use to distribute child pron and other elements of child sexual exploitation (CSE), they made no measurable progress. It took over a decade for Twitter to agree to create a tool to report CSE. Twitter refused to take down the video clips of a 13-year-old engaged in sex acts despite the pleas of the child and parents. In the minds of many, Twitter seemed to be deliberately obtuse about suppressing CSE, which called into question if the Trust and Safety Sturmabteilung that banned jokes and parody as “hurtful” really took the issue seriously or even considered it was a problem beyond whatever unfriendly interest it drew from regulators and law enforcement.


When Mike Cernovich remarked that the trio should be in jail for their dereliction of duty, Elon Musk chimed in.

The man in charge of the effort was a film studies major with a Ph.D. in communications named Yoel Roth. Roth’s Ph.D. dissertation was based on his personal use of the gay hook-up app called Grindr. Chris Rufo gave an excellent run-down of his “scholarly” publications.

Not only was his research “interesting,” so, too, was his opinion of conservatives.

Earlier today, Eliza Bleu, a victim of sex trafficking and someone who has been supportive of Musk’s efforts as compared to those of Roth and his posse, discovered something interesting.


Roth had retweeted a Slate (naturally) hot take headlined Student: teacher sex: When is it ok? Unsurprisingly, the answer was not NEVER!!!

Elon Musk took notice.

Roth has a lot of fans who are claiming that both his tweet and his Ph.D. dissertation are “out of context” and that he wasn’t really in favor of teacher-student sex. That may be true. But you can’t ignore that Twitter’s actions regarding child safety closely paralleled Roth’s stated belief that minors should be allowed access to explicit sexual material. I would contend that hiring someone like Roth was a virtual guarantee that Twitter’s policy on suppressing CSE ended up exactly where it did.

It is safe to say that whatever truce that existed between Roth and Musk is now over. The battlefield that Musk has chosen as a metric for his success is suppressing CSE material (who can be against that? Other than the obvious people). It is also safe to say that before Musk insinuated that Roth was personally responsible for Twitter’s failure in that arena, he had a lot of emails and direct messages to back up that narrative.



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