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New Twitter CEO Elon Musk suspended accounts after verified celebrities like Valerie Bertinelli, Kathy Griffin and others used his name as their handle to encourage people to vote in the midterm election.

Bertinelli tweeted using Musk’s name for several hours on Sunday but returned to her original moniker before Musk realized she and others had changed their Twitter names. Bertinelli retained her account, but Griffin and other verified accounts were suspended from the social media platform. Griffin’s friend, actor Rosanna Arquette was frustrated when Musk started shutting down accounts as she and others stood up for her on Twitter.

Why did Elon Musk suspend Kathy Griffin on Twitter?

Musk tweeted that anyone who doesn’t add “parody” when using someone else’s name would be suspended. “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” he tweeted.

Kathy Griffin on the red carpet in September. Elon Musk at a gala.
Kathy Griffin, Elon Musk | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images/James Devaney/GC Images

“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,” he continued in the thread. Adding, “Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark.”

Almost instantly, Griffin’s account was suspended. Several people dragged Musk for shutting down free speech. Musk shot back “Actually, she was suspended for impersonating a comedian.”

Many high-profile Twitter users pushed back when Musk announced he planned to charge people who wanted to continue using a verified account. Several people pointed out that the verification status reduces misinformation and fraud coming from impersonators.

Rosanna Arquette wondered if the policy only applies to those impersonating Elon Musk

Arquette quickly stood up for Griffin when her account was suspended. “Kathy Griffin is a comedian and a fierce smart activist I guess there is no such thing as free speech after all on this site,” Arquette tweeted shortly after Griffin’s account was suspended. She added, “Elon Musk so does this go for all people that are being impersonated or just you?”

Singer/musician Richard Marx tweeted in Griffin’s defense too. “Hi. I’m Elon Musk (THIS IS PARODY) and I’m going to suspend Kathy Griffin for a joke the same day I reinstate Kanye West because I’m an antisemitic, homophobic, broken, un-loved p**** (NOT parody).”

Author Kurt Eichenwald wrote, “I’ll probably get banned for this, because free speech ends right at @elonmusk doorstep. He is now waging war on public figures who are trying to show him how easy it is to imitate a current public figures. So he permanently bans Kathy Griffin, then insults her. Yet, score of…1.”

Friends visited Kathy Griffin at home post-Twitter shutdown

Griffin still has an Instagram and shared a photo alongside Arquette from a recent visit after being silenced on Twitter.


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“I have the best friends in the world,” she captioned the photo. “So I’m trending on Twitter. Long story. Anyway I was getting lots of comments online from Elon musk cult members Then DING DONG! The doorbell rang and there was Katherine Keener, Stephanie Koff and Rosanna Arquette!
Just checking up on me. We hacked into my birthday cake again. I mean, come on. It’s Hansens.”

Arquette added, “We love you” and Griffin received a flood of support in the comments section of the photo. Griffin celebrated her birthday days earlier, marking it with a funny video. “I’m 62 year young today! Her I am walking against the wind as I have done my whole life. :)” she wrote.