Not a day goes by without Twitter owner Elon Musk stirring up a shitshow on his new platform. Over the weekend, it appears the billionaire was not amused when comedian Kathy Griffin changed her name to “Elon Musk” and swapped her profile picture to one of his. Griffin mocked him and began encouraging people to vote for democrats, which got her banned by Twitter’s overlord for, it seems, impersonating him.
“After much spirited discussion with the females in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right. (They’re also sexy females, btw.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen!” Griffin said as Musk. Although the name and profile picture appeared to be Musk, Griffin’s handle was still “@kathygriffin.”
That was not Griffin’s last stand, though. In an unexpected move, the comedian skirted her ban by using the Twitter account of her late mother, Maggie Griffin, who died in 2020. Under the @TipItMaggieG banner, Griffin started trolling Musk by tweeting that she had come back from the grave to tell him to #FreeKathy. The comedian tweeted #FreeKathy to Musk numerous times and also dunked on the Twitter owner for “stealing jokes.” In 2017, Griffin tweeted a bloody, severed replica of Donald Trump’s head, which got her fired from CNN but didn’t get her banned from Twitter.
The burn came after Musk joked that Griffin had not been banned for impersonating him, but because she wasn’t funny. “Actually, she was suspended for impersonating a comedian,” Musk tweeted on Sunday.
Griffin, via @TipItMaggieG, responded that he had stolen that joke from other Twitter users and asked him to do a better job running Twitter, a platform that “used to mean something.” She later embodied her mother from the grave.
“Elon, this is Maggie contacting you from the spirit world tell u…you’re a douchebag. This is not parody. This is the actual ghost of Kathy Griffin’s boxed wine loving mother saying I’m gonna get tipsy & throw my bingo cards at you! NOT A PARODY. To the moon, a**hole. #FreeKathy,” Griffin tweeted.
On Monday morning, “Kathy Griffin” was trending on Twitter, which is probably not the response the cranky billionaire wanted. The “My Life on the D-List” star was not the only one kicked off Twitter for engaging in a parody of Musk. Ethan Klein, a popular comedic creator known as “@h3h3productions,” was also suspended. Klein had changed his profile picture to a sunglass-wearing Musk and made his display name “Elon Musk.” He tweeted the following:
“Ghislaine Maxwell is an extremely decent woman who I had the pleasure of meeting several years ago. It’s a shame how she’s been demonized and ran over by the press,” Klein tweeted. He quickly added, “Parody account. It’s in my info and header.”
Although Griffin and Musk’s public fight might seem like a harmless, if somewhat ridiculous, spat, it underscores concerns raised by the platform’s users over Musk’s new plan to bestow the check marks of verification to anybody who pays the company $8 for a Twitter Blue subscription. Before Musk bought Twitter, people with blue checkmarks were required to undergo a verification process to ensure they were who they said they were.
It’s unclear whether Musk’s Twitter will require paying users present any means of verification to prove their identity, which could lead to people impersonating others on the platform and spreading disinformation. Over the weekend, a number of verified users had the same idea as Griffin and changed their names and photos to copy Musk, TechCrunch reported. Twitter is reportedly delaying the launch of Twitter Blue until after the U.S. midterms to prevent any possible impact to the elections, the outlet stated.
In response, on Sunday, the same day Griffin and others decided to change their name and profile pictures to mimic him, Musk said that from now on, any Twitter handles caught impersonating others without specifically pointing out they were parodying another person would be banned forever.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” he tweeted. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue. Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark.”
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter for comment on why Griffin’s account had been suspended and whether the ban was permanent on Monday morning but did not receive a response. It’s not certain whether we will ever receive a response from Twitter again, given that Musk laid off almost the entire communications team at the company.
On the subject of whether Griffin could get her account back, Musk tweeted on Sunday that the comedian could get back on Twitter “if she really wants her account back.” Musk’s condition: Pay $8.
Griffin, meanwhile, continued to troll Musk from her dead mother’s Twitter account. It’s uncertain how long she’ll be able to do that. Yet, even if Musk bans @TipItMaggieG, Griffin is still making fun of him over on Mastodon.
“The bros are coming for me! 😆She’s irrelevant! I thought carrot top was dead! You know, the usual,” Griffin wrote on her Mastodon account on Monday. “HE’S SUCH A DRAMA QUEEN 😂”
On Tuesday, Griffin continued to stick it to Musk and had changed her display name and profile pic to match the billionaire’s once more on @TipItMaggieG. Alluding to Musk’s statement encouraging his millions of followers to vote Republican, the comedian again used her “Musk voice” to encourage people to vote for Democrats.
As of press time, @TipItMaggieG was still not banned on Twitter.
Update 11/8/2022, 9:57 a.m. ET: This post has been updated to include Musk’s statement on Griffin getting her account back. It has also added information on Griffin’s antics from the @TipItMaggieG account.