Elon Musk is usually right at home among large crowds of video game aficionados – but now, even they are turning against him.
The billionaire, who bought Twitter last year, gutted many of its core features and renamed it X, was booed and jeered at by a large gaming crowd at the recent Valorant Champions 2023 tournament in Los Angeles.
In a clip shared on X/Twitter, Musk appeared on the big screen and was immediately met with a chorus of dissent.
Some of the crowd could even be heard shouting: “Bring back Twitter.”
“Where’s that coming from, that can’t be from in here, surely,” one of the stream’s commentators asked. “Is that a bigger reaction than [professional Valorant player] tenZ got?”
Reacting to the clip on X, one person said: “Now he’s gonna ban all valorant content on twitter or lock it behind the sub.”
The person was referring to the fact that Musk has frequently cracked down on the content of rivals, such as Substack, on Twitter/X. That is despite claiming he wanted to apply a police of “free speech absolutism” on his own app.
During his tenure at Twitter, Musk has also suspended reporters and left-wing accounts that drew his ire, retaliated against media outlets perceived as too liberal and ordered engineers to boost his posts after a tweet from president Joe Biden about the Super Bowl did better than his own.
It's not the first time he's been booed onstage in recent times either. Musk appeared to be mercilessly jeered by audience members after being brought on stage by Dave Chappelle on 12 December.
Musk was introduced by the comedian during his show at San Francisco’s Chase Center. Chappelle joked: “It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience.”
In a characteristically self-aware moment after the incident, Musk called his hecklers "unhinged".
The Tesla founder's leadership of Twitter, then X, has also led to a reported drop in standards across the app, with many of the company’s content moderation staff sacked late last year as he slashed headcount.
And late last year, research given to the New York Times suggested there has been a sharp a rise in hate speech on the platform as a result.
No wonder the gamers were unhappy with Musk.
“I’m sure he’ll change it back now,” said the original poster, Jake Lucky, seemingly sarcastically. At least he’s realistic about his chances.