Twitter CEO Elon Musk criticized the New York Times for allegedly supporting white genocide in South Africa. Musk, who grew up in South Africa, expressed his outrage on Twitter after the paper published an article dismissing South African MP Julius Malema’s performance of a song called ‘Kill the Boer’ at a rally as metaphorical.
Musk tweeted, “The New York Times actually has the nerve to support calls for genocide! If ever there was a time to cancel that publication, it is now.” He also shared a link where readers could access Times articles for free.
The New York Times had claimed that only “some Americans on the far right” believed that Malema’s song was a call to violence. The paper cited historians and Malema himself, who argued that the song should not be taken literally. Malema stated in court testimony that the song was directed towards the government’s failure to address land ownership disparities between Black and white South Africans.
The Times defended Malema by suggesting that it was Musk’s retweeting of the video, rather than Malema’s calls to “shoot to kill” white farmers, that had alarmed right-wing Americans. Musk responded to the video by tweeting, “They are openly pushing for genocide of white people in [South Africa]. Why do you say nothing?” directed at President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Times’ focus on Musk’s comments, rather than Malema’s own statements, was not unique. Mother Jones published an article detailing how white nationalists supposedly celebrated Musk’s support, dismissing “white genocide” as a conspiracy theory.
Malema performed the song at the 10th anniversary celebration of his left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters party. Malema had previously been expelled from the African National Congress for singing ‘Kill the Boer’ in 2012.
Last year, Johannesburg’s Equality Court reversed a ruling that declared the song hate speech and prohibited Malema from singing it. The court dismissed the case brought by white South African advocacy group AfriForum, stating that the lyrics in the song did not demonstrate a clear intention to harm or propagate hatred.
President Ramaphosa has tried to ease racial tensions by providing statistics that show white farmers are killed in proportion to their land ownership. He has also denied any plot to forcibly remove white farmers from their land.
In conclusion, Elon Musk condemned the New York Times for seemingly endorsing white genocide in South Africa. The Times claimed that the song ‘Kill the Boer’ was metaphorical, but Musk and others argued that it incited violence. The controversy surrounding the song highlights the ongoing racial tensions and land ownership disparities in South Africa.