Elon Musk has been booed by a San Francisco audience after joining comedian Dave Chappelle onstage. The new Twitter boss was invited to join Chappelle on stage when the crowd gave Musk the frosty reception.
Musk, 51, recently caused waves across the internet with his $43 billion takeover of Twitter. He has since made sweeping changes to the platform, including introducing a new verification ‘blue tick’ system and unlocking previously banned accounts including Donald Trump and Kanye West.
Chappelle, 49, has also caused controversy and was accused of transphobia after the 2021 release of his Netflix comedy special The Closer. Critics claimed that the comedian had made transphobic jokes about transgender women and being a ‘terf’, with some viewers - and Netflic employees - boycotting the streaming platform as a result.
The appearance of Musk at the San Francisco gig took many audience members by surprise, with Musk and Chappelle looking shocked in return at the reception the tech mogul received. It comes shortly after he posted a controversial tweet in which he appeared to call on the prosecution of Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s chief medical adviser who has been heavily criticised by ring-wing politicans and supporters for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But what happened on stage with Dave Chappelle, and what did they say in response to the booing? Here’s everything you need to know.
What was said as Elon Musk appeared onstage with Dave Chappelle?
Chappelle had been performing at the Chase Center, San Francisco when he interrupted his set to invited Musk on stage. Chappelle said: “Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world.”
Musk proceeded to join the comedian onstage and looked to welcome an expected warm reaction to his appearance. He arrived on stage waving to the 18,00-person crowd before the booing began.
The reaction looked to take both Musk and Chappelle by surprise. Chappelle told the Twitter boss: “ Controversy, buddy. Weren’t expecting this, were you?”
Musk remained relatively quiet during his appearance, which lasted around five minutes. At one point, he turned to Chappelle, asking: “Dave, what shall I say?”
Chappelle responded: “Don’t say nothing. You hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest.”
After the incident onstage, Musk addressed the situation on Twitter. When a follower attempted to jibe Musk over the booing, the tech mogul insisted that “it was 90% cheers and 10% boos” but “that’s a lot of boos which is a first for me in real life”. He added that he believed the booing may have some from “unhinged leftists” in San Francisco.
Why was Elon Musk booed onstage?
While Musk and Chappelle appeared surprised by the reaction, Musk has become a polarising figure. His controversial overtaking of Twitter has seen some abandon the platform in protest of Musk’s loosening of free speech policy and unbanning accounted which had been locked out of the site for violating previous policy.
He has also been criticised for sharing false right-wing conspiracy theories with his 121 million followers. This included questioning the legitimacy of the attack on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
However, the negative reception towards Musk may be particularly strong in San Francisco. The city, home to the famed Silicon Valley tech industry, will have been some of those affected by Musk’s job cuts.
The businessman made headlines after he cut around 50% of jobs at the social media site. This is around 3,700 people.
Alongside the culling of thousands of jobs, Musk is also said to have demanded more for those who do remain. It has been reported that some employees have slept at Twitter head offices while working to meet the deadline on projects since the redundancies took place.
With a high proportion of tech professionals in San Francisco, and with Twitter’s headquarters in the city too, this may be the reason for their added hostility towards Musk.