‘Rather go to war’: Elon Musk mobilises US ‘patriots’ against Australia

PM slams ‘out of touch’ Elon Musk

Source: Network Ten

Elon Musk has whipped up a bizarre barrage of anti-Australian sentiment as he resists attempts to have a distressing video of the Wakeley church stabbing removed from his X social media platform.

Musk announced that X would fight any attempt by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner to remove content related to the stabbing and would not pay any fines imposed.

His followers have compared the Australian demand as anything from an attack on US free speech to a manifestation of tyranny, and even an act of war.

X was ordered late on Monday to block all users from violent footage related to an alleged terror attack by a 16-year-old boy in a western Sydney church on April 15.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant complained to the Federal Court that the “graphic and violent” footage was geo-blocked by X for Australian audiences, instead of being taken down globally.

Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, agreed to remove the content, but Musk – a self-described “free speech absolutionist” – has raised free speech and jurisdictional concerns over the orders made by the Federal Court.

His defiance has evolved into a high-stakes battle over what content can be shown on social media platforms and has united the federal government and opposition.

Musk has been posting content critical of the Australian government and the eSafety Commissioner day and night as he frames the fight as a defence of free speech, despite the violent and inflammatory nature of the video in question, and the misinformation it has encouraged.

‘Sooner go to war’

On Tuesday, Musk retweeted a Sky News video in which host Rita Panahi criticised the eSafety Commissioner with the comment:

“Our concern is that if ANY country is allowed to censor content for ALL countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire internet?”

The responses to the post were swift and extreme.

“I’d sooner go to war with Australia than give them the ability to dictate my speech. Ask how that went for the English,” one follower posted.

“Speech Nazis are never content with controlling just their own country,” wrote another.

Don Keith, whose X bio describes him as an “American Patriot” said “X is the America of social media”.

If it falls we have nowhere else to go. Hold the line Elon Musk,” he posted.

Colette Harrington, a “screenwriter/actress”, typified the views of many posters when she wrote: “Stand your ground Space Cowboy. You’re it! Free speech, we’d be done if you hadn’t come along”.

Harrington’s only credit on Internet Movie Database is as a writer and actress on the movie, Only God Can.

‘Arrogant billionaire’

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday branded Elon Musk “arrogant” for his stance.

“We’ll do what’s necessary to take on this arrogant billionaire who thinks he’s above the law, but also above common decency,” he told ABC TV.

“What the eSafety Commissioner is doing is doing her job to protect the interests of Australians,” Albanese said.

“The idea that someone would go to court for the right to put up violent content on a platform shows how out of touch Mr Musk is.”

The Prime Minister said social media needed to have social responsibility, adding “Mr Musk is not showing any”.

Other social media companies, including Facebook and Instagram owner Meta, have complied with the eSafety Commissioner’s requests without complaint.

“This bloke thinks he’s above the Australian law, that he’s above common decency,” Albanese told Sky News.

“No one is above the law, not Elon Musk, not any Australian citizen when it comes to operating here in Australia.”

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