Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk was booed loudly and continuously when Dave Chappelle unexpectedly brought him out at a comedy show in San Francisco on Sunday night. But it was the comedian’s reaction to the audience’s response that may have caught more people off guard.
Chappelle was performing the final San Francisco show of his and Chris Rock’s comedy tour when he introduced Musk, who notably and swiftly decimated Twitter’s staff with massive layoffs once he acquired the social media platform for tens of billions of dollars in October.
It was in that context that Chappelle seemed to try to defend Musk from the booing Sunday night by mocking the aforementioned Twitter layoffs.
By all accounts, the show was a raging success up until Chappelle introduced Musk to the crowd.
“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Chappelle told the audience.
The introduction triggered a chorus of boos, which, in turn, prompted a series of tone-deaf moves from both Chappelle and Musk.
“It sounds like some of them people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle said to Musk on stage, mocking the people who lost their jobs while simultaneously defending the ultra-billionaire who has been villainized for the dismissive way he’s reportedly treated Twitter employees.
That quip apparently invited Musk to do his best Chappelle impression with three words that critics said were insensitive, at best: “I’m rich, bitch!”
While people in attendance were required to hand over their cell phones before entering, video footage from the show was populating Twitter timelines early Monday morning with evidence of the fateful moment.
However, that same footage was seemingly being systematically removed and deleted from Twitter in an apparent attempt to deflect shame from its shameless owner.
Making the moment even more damning is the fact that a New York Times report last month found that Musk “brushed aside” concerns of diversity and inclusion when he ordered the sweeping layoffs. That’s a big deal considering the tech business sector, especially in Silicon Valley, has been long criticized as being disproportionately white.
During the layoffs, Twitter’s lone office in Africa was all but gutted with its staff reportedly feeling “discriminated against” because they were not offered any severance unlike other laid-off employees located elsewhere in the world.
As Musk stays in the news for all the wrong reasons, Chappelle has also faced lingering backlash since the release of his 2021 special The Closer, where he made insensitive remarks about the trans community.
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