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Elon Musk on conspiracy theories: Impulse to speak out leads to ‘self-inflicted wounds’


Elon Musk said he is “guilty of many self-inflicted wounds” as the billionaire was questioned in a lawsuit that accused him of promoting a conspiracy theory which indentified a California man as a federal agent posing as a neo-Nazi falsely. The Tesla CEO also said that he didn’t think he had “meaningfully harmed” the Jewish 22-year-old who sued him for defamation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk waves as he leaves the Tesla Gigafactory for electric cars after a visit in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, March 13, 2024.((AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi))

“There’s some risk that what I say is incorrect, but one has to balance that against having a chilling effect on free speech in general, which would undermine the entire foundation of our democracy,” Elon Musk Musk said.

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What is the lawsuit against Elon Musk about?

Elon Musk was sued in Texas state court last year by Ben Brody over his endorsement of a social media post that compared an Instagram profile of Brody to a photo of a White supremacist. Ben Brody said that he and his family suffered a wave of harassment by “belligerent strangers” who were motivated by Elon Musk’s remarks. Ben Brody also said that he feared long-term career consequences owing to the post.

Is this the first time Elon Musk has been sued for defamation?

No but it is the first time he’s been sued for defamation since buying X (formerly Twitter) in 2022 for $44 billion.

What Elon Musk said in the deposition?

Elon Musk said, “My goal is simply to have the X platform be the best source of truth on the internet. And when you try to figure out the truth of things, you — there’s a debate. That debate, you know, goes one way or the other, but it is a vigorous debate.”

When he was asked by the lawyer, “Would you say that as of last summer that you knew that you had had some difficulties restraining your impulses on Twitter?”, he responded, “I would say that I — you know, I’m guilty of many self-inflicted wounds.”

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