Elon Musk weighs in on Dublin riots claiming country’s PM ‘hates the Irish people’

SpaceX owner is currently battling accusations that he has allowed antisemitic content to be shown alongisde major advertisers’ ads on X/Twitter

Graig Graziosi
Saturday 25 November 2023 19:32 GMT
Related video: ‘Nobody could have anticipated’ Dublin violence, says Ireland police chief

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and owner of X/Twitter, said that Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar "hates the Irish people" after the nation announced its intent to "modernise" its laws against hate and hate speech.

The interaction took place on Mr Musk's social media platform. He was responding to a an account named "Sir Doge of the Coin" — a reference to the Doge coin meme cryptocurrency — who shared a snippet of a news story about the legislative initiative and complained that the "Irish government want all of your freedoms."

"Irish children were stabbed by a foreign man in Dublin yesterday yet the government twist the story and use the backlash as an opportunity to pass new hate speech laws," the owner of the meme crypto account wrote. "The Irish government want all of your freedoms."

Mr Musk, the wealthiest man on the planet and the owner of one of the most influential social media platforms, responded to the meme account — whose pfp is a cartoon Shiba Inu in medieval armour — by saying "Ironically, the Irish PM hates the Irish people."

Mr Musk has long claimed he is a “free speech absolutist,” though his adherence to those principles is questionable.

The exchange was an outgrowth of the current tension in Ireland after three children and an adult were stabbed near a school in Dublin. Critics of the government's immigration policy have painted the stabbing to be evidence that stricter control over who is allowed into the nation is needed.

One of the children, a five-year-old, remains in "very serious condition," and the adult, a female teacher, is still in "serious condition," CNN reports.

Since the stabbing on Thursday, police in Ireland have reported that right-wing agitators have stirred up violent protests and mobilised angry mobs on to Dublin's streets.

“These are scenes that we have not seen in decades. But what is clear is that people have been radicalised through social media," Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said during a press briefing on Friday. He went on to describe the rioters as "a complete lunatic hooligan faction driven by far-right ideology," CNN reports.

“These criminals did not do what they did because they love Ireland, they did not do what they did because they wanted to protect Irish people, they did not do it out of any sense of patriotism, however warped,” Mr Varadkar told a news conference. “They did so because they’re filled with hate, they love violence, they love chaos, and they love causing pain to others.”

Police said they arrested 34 people in the ensuing riots.

Mr Musk's comments come at a time when his company, X/Twitter, is under fire for reportedly serving antisemitic content next to major advertisers' ads.

He has both denied and seemingly confirmed those reports in a civil lawsuit he has brought against MediaMatters, the watchdog group that initially reported the issue.

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