Basketball star Rudy Gobert issues genuine apology for liking Elon Musk’s sad little pronouns joke

Basketball player Rudy Gobert has apologised for liking a transphobic tweet made by Elon Musk, saying he’s “got to learn a little bit more about the pronoun thing”.

Musk’s bizarre tweet on Sunday (11 December) managed to both mock pronouns and call for immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci to be jailed for his work during the pandemic.

Dr Fauci, 81, who served as a leading member of the White House COVID-19 response team, was the subject of many right-wing memes and conspiracy theories throughout the pandemic by people who believe COVID-19 is a “hoax”.

Twitter owner Musk, who predicted the Covid-19 pandemic would end in April 2020, wrote: “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci”.

Musk added, in a second tweet, that he believes Dr Fauci’s funding of COVID-19 research “killed millions of people”, and he “lied to Congress”, though he didn’t specify what he believes Dr Fauci lied about. 

The billionaire’s initial tweet reached over 1.2 million likes since it was posted on the weekend. 

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Minnesota Timberwolves star Gobert apologised for liking Musk’s tweet on Monday (12 December), claiming that his intent was “never to hurt anyone”, the Star Tribune reported.

“Regardless of the different opinions that people have, my intent is never to direct any type of hate towards any group,” Gobert said, adding that he had removed his like, and intends to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.

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“I think Elon tweets about stuff like that and sometimes you like a tweet, but you don’t understand the full meaning of it… I just think I got to learn a little bit more about the pronoun thing.

“I think anyone should be able to do whatever they want to do in life… Love whoever they want to love, dress however they want to dress.

“I respect freedom of being who you want to be and that comes with the freedom also of people expressing what they want to express.”

Reports have found that anti-LGBTQ+ hate on Twitter has risen to terrifying new levels since Musk’s takeover of the site.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), along with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other groups, found that the use of anti-LGBTQ+ slurs has dramatically increased on Twitter since Musk’s takeover of the site, rising by at least 1,458 times a day.

It reported that since Musk’s takeover, daily use of the homophobic f-word slur has risen 58 per cent, with the word now being used around 3,964 times a day.

“Elon Musk sent up the ‘Bat Signal’ to every kind of racist, misogynist, and homophobe that Twitter was open for business,” CCDH chief executive Imran Ahmed said.

Despite this, Musk claimed that hate speech impressions were “down by a third from pre-spike levels” in a 24 November tweet showcasing a graph from a Twitter presentation.

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Several Twitter users claimed that the billionaire had simply changed the definition of “hate speech” to give the impression that the site was tackling it, with one user stating: “The transphobia in my mentions is the worst it’s ever been.”

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