Elon Musk Is Personally Paying for Some Celebs’ Twitter Blue Subs

  • Elon Musk said he’s personally paying for several top celebrities’ Twitter Blue subscriptions.
  • He tweeted on Thursday that he’s paid subscriptions for Stephen King, LeBron James, and Stephen King.
  • Twitter removed legacy verification badges this week, and charges $8 for a blue check.

Billionaire Elon Musk says he’s personally paying for several well-known figures to stay on Twitter Blue after they refused to fork up $8 for a monthly subscription.

NBA star LeBron James, Canadian actor William Shatner, and author Stephen King are among the chosen few, Musk tweeted on Thursday evening.

King, who previously railed against the idea of paying to retain his blue check, said on Thursday that he never paid for verification.

“My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number, I haven’t,” he tweeted.

“You’re welcome namaste,” Musk responded to King.

Twitter this week rolled out its long-anticipated revoking of legacy verification badges for anyone who isn’t subscribed to its $8-per-month service.

However, The Verge’s Alex Heath and Jay Peters reported that some celebrities, like the Los Angeles Lakers’ James, were given complimentary subscriptions to Twitter Blue. James received an email from Twitter offering free verification “on behalf of Elon Musk,” the outlet reported.

Adam Mendelsohn, James’ media advisor, confirmed that James didn’t pay for the subscription, per The Verge.

The basketball star tweeted earlier this month that he “ain’t paying the 5” for verification.

James was revealed in March to be one of the 35 “VIP users” that had their accounts’ visibility boosted by Twitter, Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer reported.

As for Shatner, the actor criticized Musk directly in March for removing blue checks from free users. “Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free?” he tweeted.

Rapper Ice T appears to have also retained his blue checkmark on Twitter without paying for it. “Hey. Maybe it’ll disappear soon,” he tweeted on Thursday. “F it.”

“Don’t believe the hype,” he also tweeted in response to King announcing he never paid for Twitter Blue.

Musk on Wednesday responded to the online discussion of celebrities receiving free verification, saying he is “paying for a few personally” to keep their Twitter Blue subscriptions.

Meanwhile, a slew of big names in the same industries have lost their Twitter verification badges, such as Halle Berry, Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Colbert, J.K. Rowling, and 50 Cent. Over in South Korea, KPop supergroup BTS also lost its blue checkmark. 

Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. The company responded with an automated message that did not address Insider’s queries.

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