Elon Musk defends free speech, anti-DEI position in combative Don Lemon interview – LifeSite

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(LifeSiteNews) –– In an interview that aired on X, Elon Musk calmly explained to a seemingly befuddled Don Lemon the principle of free speech. Musk also spoke about the dangers of lowering standards in medical schools in the name of DEI, recently eating breakfast with former President Donald Trump, and the “woke mind virus.”

Musk was a guest on episode 1 of The Don Lemon Show, which aired on X (formerly Twitter). Around 30 minutes into the interview, Lemon pressed Musk on whether he has a responsibility to moderate “hate speech” on the platform. After a back-and-forth, Musk ultimately got to the heart of the matter when he articulated: “Freedom of speech only is relevant when people you don’t like say things you don’t like. Otherwise it has no meaning.”

Later in the interview, Musk emphasized that he “acquired X in order to preserve freedom of speech in America, the First Amendment. I’m gonna stick to that. And if that means making less money [from advertisers], so be it.”

‘Moderation is a propaganda word for censorship’

During their free speech exchange, Lemon showed Musk screenshots of several anti-semitic and racist tweets, saying, “These have been up there for a while.”

“Are they illegal?” Musk asked.

“They’re not illegal, but they’re hateful and they can lead to violence. As I just read to you, the shooters in all of these mass shootings attributed social media to radicalizing them,” Lemon retorted.

“So Don, you love censorship, is what you’re saying,” smirked Musk.

He went on to say, “Moderation is a propaganda word for censorship… Look, if something’s illegal, we’re going to take it down. If it’s not illegal, then we’re putting our thumb on the scale and we’re being censors” if X removes it.

Lemon responded that some would say removing child pornography is censorship, to which Musk replied, “I literally said, ‘if something is illegal, okay, we will obviously remove it.’ But if it is not illegal – the laws of this country are put forward by the citizens, if those laws put in place by the people – we adhere to those laws… – If you go beyond the law, you’re actually going beyond the will of the people.”

Musk also emphasized that if something is on the platform, that doesn’t necessarily mean that X is promoting it or that anyone is seeing it, and said that since he’s taken over the company, the reach of content deemed “hateful” is actually down.

DEI and the ‘woke mind virus’

An antagonistic Lemon also brought up diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Musk had recently replied to a thread on X from the Daily Wire‘s Ben Shapiro about top medical schools abandoning “all sort[s] of metrics” for surgeons in the name of DEI.

“If the standards for passing medical exams and becoming a doctor, or especially something like a surgeon – if the standards are lowered, then the probability that the surgeon will make a mistake is higher. [If] they’re making mistakes in their exam, they may make mistakes with people and that may result in people dying,” Musk articulated.

“Okay, I understand that. But that’s a hypothetical. That doesn’t mean it’s happening,” said Lemon, to which Musk replied, “I didn’t say it was happening.”

Lemon brought up medicine’s historical mistreatment of minorities, and asked, “Most doctors now are white, and there are lots of mistakes in medicine, so you’re saying that – white doctors have – bad medical care? I’m trying to understand your logic here when it comes to DEI because there’s no actual evidence of what you’re saying.”

Concerning DEI in the airline industry, Lemon went on to ask Musk if he believes women and minority pilots are inherently less intelligent and skilled, to which the billionaire replied, “No, I’m just saying that we should not lower the standards for them.”

The exchange continued:

Lemon: “Why would they be lowering the standards?”

Musk: “I don’t know, why are they lowering the standards?”

Lemon: “Just so you know, five percent of pilots are female. Four percent are black. So you’re talking about this widespread takeover of minorities and women when that’s not actually true.”

Musk: “I’m not saying there’s a widespread takeover.”

Lemon: “Well you’re saying that the standards are being lowered because of certain people.”

Lemon, sounding incredulous, also asked Musk, “Do you not believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion?”

“I think we should be – treat people according to their skills and their integrity, and that’s it,” he responded.

He later elaborated, “Woke mind virus is when you stop caring about people’s skills and their integrity and you start focusing instead on gender and race and other things that are different from that… the woke mind virus is fundamentally racist, fundamentally sexist, and fundamentally evil.”

“Don Lemon versus Elon Musk is like watching a lightweight in the ring against Mike Tyson—and I mean Tyson in his prime. The lightweight is flat on his back, and what’s more, he’s so comatose he doesn’t even know he’s been knocked out,” conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza wrote on X.

Musk may endorse a candidate for president ‘in the final stretch,’ and if he does, ‘will explain exactly why’

Earlier during the interview, Musk shared that he’d recently been at a friend’s house for breakfast and Donald Trump came by.

“Let’s just say he did most of the talking,” said Musk, but Trump didn’t say anything “groundbreaking or new.”

“I may in the final stretch endorse a candidate… if I do decide to endorse a candidate, I will explain exactly why,” Musk told Lemon, noting he’s “leaning away from Biden” but “I’ve made no secret of that.”

Lemon’s new show was originally slated to be an X production, but Musk ultimately canceled the deal, although the show is still posted on the platform. Lemon had asked for “a free Tesla Cybertruck, a $5 million upfront payment on top of an $8 million salary, an equity stake in the multibillion-dollar company, and the right to approve any changes in X policy as it relates to news content,” the New York Post reported.

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