Elon Musk and Bill Maher took aim at Great Britain on Friday night, with Maher criticizing British libel laws and praising instead the free speech protections under the First Amendment.
Musk, 51, was eagerly welcomed on to Maher’s show, with the host tweeting that the Twitter owner was ‘the guest I’ve wanted to have on more than any other.’
The pair discussed Musk’s concept of a ‘Woke Mind Virus’ infecting the nation, and Maher asked for his thoughts on censorship.
‘In many parts of the world – including parts of the world that people might think are relatively similar to the United States – the speech laws are draconian,’ said Musk.
‘England is quite different,’ replied Maher.
Elon Musk appeared on Bill Maher’s chat show on Friday night, and discussed the First Amendment and censorship
Musk said that in ‘parts of the world that people might think are relatively similar to the United States – the speech laws are draconian’, to which Maher replied: ‘England’
The South African-born billionaire declined to comment, saying: ‘I won’t name any country but -‘
Maher interjected: ‘England – why we protecting them. They have no First Amendment. It’s very easy to prove libel in England whereas here…’
Musk cut him off, saying: ‘I love England.’
The host replied: Me too. But I wouldn’t want to say the wrong thing. Or you could be sued easier.’ Musk didn’t refute any of Maher’s comments.
England and the UK also have hate speech laws which can see people prosecuted for slurs against minority groups, while the First Amendment prevents the imposition of any such laws in America.
Maher also referenced France, where it is illegal to deny the Holocaust – a law that exists also in Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, and multiple other countries. Holocaust denial is not illegal in the UK, but a February 2019 landmark case saw a blogger prosecuted for the ‘grossly offensive’ concept.
Maher said he found denying the Holocaust ‘abhorrent’, but he thought it should be protected under the First Amendment.
Maher said he felt British libel laws were too strict, and he preferred the freedom of speech protected under the First Amendment
‘I really can’t emphasize this enough,’ said Musk.
‘We must protect free speech – and free speech only matters, it’s only relevant, when it’s someone you don’t like saying something you don’t like.
‘Because obviously free speech that you like is easy.
‘So the thing about censorship is that, for those who would advocate it, just remember at some point that will return on you.’
His remarks were met with resounding applause.
‘Free speech is actually extremely important and it’s bizarre that we’ve come to this point,’ he said.
‘Free speech used to be a left or liberal value.
‘And yet we see from, in quotes, the left, a desire to actually censor.
‘And that seems crazy.’
Musk said he was concerned about ‘Woke Mind Virus’, and the inability to question anything
Musk said he was deeply concerned about the ‘Woke Mind Virus’, describing it as a ‘deeply undemocratic’ herd mentality.
‘You can’t you can’t question things,’ he said.
‘Even the questioning is bad.’
He said that he considered himself a moderate, noting he had ‘spent a massive amount of my life energy building sustainable energy’ which was ‘not exactly far right’.
But he said he was troubled by the indoctrination of people, in particular young people.
‘I think the parents are just generally not aware of what their kids are being told or what they’re not being taught,’ he said.
Musk said he had a friend whose child was at school in the Bay Area, and the parent asked the child what they knew about U.S. presidents.
‘You know, who are the first few presidents of the United States,’ Musk recalled him saying.
‘They could name Washington but, I said what do you know about him.
‘Well, he was a slave owner. What else?
Musk is seen on Wednesday in Washington DC, having just left the office of Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader
Maher asked Musk, who bought Twitter in October for $44 billion, about Tucker Carlson’s two-minute clip he posted on Wednesday night – which has now been viewed 76 million times, massively more than his Fox News show.
Carlson was fired by Fox on Monday: Maher joked that Musk had recently appeared on Carlson’s show, and said that he hoped Musk’s presence wouldn’t usher in his own demise.
Musk chuckled at the concept of him being, as he said, ‘the Typhoid Mary of talk shows’.
He said he only became aware of Carlson’s post after it went live, and had not tweaked the algorithm to boost the video.
‘We didn’t do anything,’ he said.
‘To be clear: we did nothing special whatsoever.
‘I learned about it afterwards that he had posted something on Twitter.’
He said Twitter had 250 million people spending on average half an hour a day on the platform, which equated to 120 to 130 million user hours per day.
Carlson’s show averaged three million viewers a night – the most of any cable news host.
‘So it’s just that Twitter has a lot of people’s attention, and it tends to be the people that read a lot, or are interested in current events.
‘And generally are pretty influential.’