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Elon Musk and astronaut Scott Kelly argue on Twitter over use of pronouns

Elon Musk got into a Twitter row with former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly on Sunday after the billionaire entrepreneur appeared to take another high-profile jab over the LGBTQ community’s use of gender pronouns.

“My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” wrote Musk, who took over Twitter in October, referring to White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Musk’s tweet quickly went viral, amassing over a million likes and 100,000 replies by Monday afternoon.

One such response came from Kelly, who has commanded the International Space Station on three expeditions. The retired astronaut, who is also the twin brother of Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, chastised Musk for his flippant remark.

“Elon, please don’t make fun of or promote hatred towards already marginalized and at-risk members of the #LGBTQ+ community. They are real people with real feelings. Additionally, Dr. Fauci is a dedicated public servant whose sole motivation was to save lives,” Kelly wrote.

Musk, who in addition to being the head of Twitter is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, doubled down on his response to Kelly.

“I strongly disagree. Forcing your pronouns on others when they haven’t asked, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor nice to anyone,” Musk wrote. , in part.

In an email to NBC News, Kelly said he felt compelled to report Musk because the matter was “personal” to him, adding that he saw “the pain the hate causes” in his family members. gay and transgender.

“Sometimes people call me Mark, I feel compelled to correct them,” he said, referring to his identical twin brother. “If people called me her, I would feel obligated to correct them as well.”

Regarding Dr. Fauci, Kelly said he believed the public health official — who was the chief scientist running the country for most of the Covid-19 pandemic and was demonized by the GOP — did “what he thought was right to protect lives.

“As a scientist, I feel compelled to stand up for science,” he added.

A representative for Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sunday’s Twitter spat wasn’t the first time Musk, who has a transgender daughter, has commented on LGBTQ issues and drawn criticism, particularly regarding the use of pronouns that don’t match an individual’s assigned gender. at birth.

In July 2020, the billionaire made his views on the use of pronouns known by tweeting, “Pronouns suck.” Later that year, he expanded on his views, writing, “I absolutely support trans people, but all those pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare.”

In a since-deleted tweet — and just days after his high-profile takeover of the social media giant — Musk shared a link to an unsubstantiated anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the attack on the president’s husband. House Nancy Pelosi, Paul Pelosi. The conspiracy theory suggested, without any evidence, that Pelosi’s attacker was actually a “prostitute nudist hippie”.

Musk’s controversial tweets on Sunday come amid a seemingly endless stream of headlines the billionaire has generated since taking over Twitter.

Just days after officially taking over the company, he abruptly laid off a significant proportion of its employees, sending shockwaves throughout the tech industry.

And in late November, Musk reinstated former President Donald Trump on the site, nearly two years after the company banned him citing his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. The billionaire CEO also reinstated other previously suspended accounts, including those belonging to conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and anti-trans pundit Meghan Murphy.

The company also recently announced that it “no longer enforces the Covid-19 misleading information policy.”

While Musk has repeatedly maintained that the company has not changed any of its hate speech moderation policies, uncertainty over how the platform will look under his stewardship has prompted some Twitter advertisers to refrain from purchasing promotional locations on the site.

On Sunday night, after his spat with Kelly, Musk was greeted with a mix of boos and applause when he made a surprise appearance at comedian Dave Chappelle’s show in San Francisco. Chappelle was widely criticized by LGBTQ advocates last year after the release of a comedy special that many considered transphobic.

nbcnews Gt

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