Chappelle’s audience members explain why they booed Elon Musk
Three audience members who were at comedian Dave Chappelle’s show where tech titan Elon Musk was booed off stage say Musk’s characterization of the night wasn’t accurate and explained why they felt compelled to heckle the richest man in the world.
The Twitter and Tesla CEO joined Chappelle onstage Sunday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco, where Chris Rock was also headlining.
“It was more boos than I had ever heard,” one participant, Jason, said in a direct message. “Sustained mockery.
Two members of the public told NBC News they booed Musk over the widespread layoffs and dismissals on Twitter. A third person said they booed Musk because of his political agenda. Ahead of the midterms, Musk urged his supporters to vote Republicans. The three people shared screenshots of their tickets for the show with NBC News and spoke on the condition that only their first names be used to protect their privacy and avoid backlash from Musk fans.
Cheers and boos can be heard in videos taken from the event, which were viewed millions of times on social media on Monday. Later on Twitter, Musk attributed the mixed reception to his recent embrace of conservative politics.
“Technically it was 90% applause and 10% booing (except during quiet times), but, still, that’s a lot of booing, which is a first for me in real life (common on Twitter),” Musk wrote in a tweet. .
The tech titan added “It’s almost like I offended the lopsided lefties in SF…but nahhh.”
The three audience members who spoke to NBC News said Musk’s tweet was inaccurate and the boos drowned out the cheers.
The incident and the explanations members of the public gave to NBC News represent a changing tide for Musk, who has taken on a new level of notoriety since taking over Twitter while vocally supporting conservative causes.
Musk barely spoke on stage, but he quoted a Chappelle skit from the early 2000s, saying “I’m rich, bitch!” You could also hear Musk say, “At times like this, I think we’re in a simulation. Like, how can this be real?
Jason said he and his wife were initially left speechless after Musk took the stage, but said he started booing after seeing Musk’s “smile”. Jason mentioned that Musk let go of about half of Twitter’s employees starting in November when asked why he booed him.
Twitter is based in San Francisco, and Musk also rolled back the company’s longstanding remote work policy, requiring employees to come into the office.
“It’s like [Chappelle] brought in the steel magnate who laid off the town’s workforce and then thought people in the same town wouldn’t be too upset about it,” Jason said in a direct message.
Another person on the show, Hailey, said she booed Musk in part because of the layoffs on Twitter and Musk’s new company policies that “overwork and underpay people,” contributing to massive resignations.
On Nov. 16, Musk sent a company-wide email to remaining employees asking them to commit to “long, high-intensity work” or leave the company. The San Francisco Building Inspection Department has launched an investigation into Twitter’s offices after photos taken inside the building appeared to show beds being installed, despite the building being zoned for commercial space and non-residential.
Hailey also called Musk an “impostor” who didn’t start Tesla, but “passes it off as his own work.” She wasn’t the only audience member to feel this about Musk – fellow attendee Jack called him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
Musk said one of his main goals in running Twitter was to foster free speech, restoring the accounts of former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Jack, who said he also booed Musk, said Musk’s idea of ”free speech” was “intended to shift views more to the right.”
“He has programs that are not good for democracy,” Jack said in a direct message. He “wasn’t really surprised” to hear people booing Musk.
“Bay Area people are quite thoughtful and capable of nuance,” he wrote.
Within 48 hours of his Twitter takeover, Musk tweeted and deleted an unsubstantiated anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the Paul Pelosi attack. The day before his appearance at Chappelle’s show, Musk also called for Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, to be prosecuted. He has repeatedly made fun of the favorite pronouns used by transgender people.
Chappelle also faced backlash for his comments about transgender people. Jason, who said he was a fan of Chappelle before the comedian achieved mainstream popularity, said Musk’s appearance showed Chappelle’s “lack of self-awareness”.
“Seems like he’s been rich too long now,” he wrote.