The squeaky wheel gets the Twitter blue check-mark, it seems.
After Twitter’s mass revocation Thursday of thousands of “legacy” verified blue check-marks, carrying out owner Elon Musk’s long-promised purge of the “corrupt” system, several high-profile accounts still had the iconic blue badges… even though they evidently aren’t paying for Twitter Blue (the subscription service whose perks now include a blue check-mark).
Those included NBA superstar LeBron James, actor William Shatner and author Stephen King — each of whom had tweeted that they wouldn’t pay for Twitter Blue or had complained about Musk’s switch in the verification program.
Musk later said he was “personally” paying for Twitter Blue on behalf of James, Shatner and King. Musk, who serves as CEO of Twitter as well as Tesla and SpaceX, currently has a net worth north of $173 billion. (It’s unclear whether Musk is in fact paying his own company for those subscriptions or if Twitter is just waiving the fees.)
On Thursday, King expressed confusion about the situation, tweeting, “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.” Musk later replied to him, “You’re welcome namaste 🙏.”
In October 2022, King, responding to an earlier report that Twitter was mulling a $20/month charge for blue check-marks, wrote, “Fuck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” The legendary horror writer added, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.” Musk at the time told King, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8 [per month]?”
James had tweeted on March 31: “Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5. 🤷🏾♂️.” And Shatner had tweeted at Musk, “Hey @elonmusk what’s this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter? I’ve been here for 15 years giving my ⏰ & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free? What is this – the Colombia Records & Tape Club?🙄”
In addition to James, King and Shatner, other celebrities with massive Twitter followings — including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres and Miley Cyrus — also continue to display the verified blue check-mark. It’s unclear whether those accounts are paying for Twitter Blue or if Twitter is also comping them.
Ice-T, the actor and music artist, still has a verified blue check-mark on Twitter for some reason. He thinks the whole subject is fairly ridiculous. “The fact that we’re even discussing Blue Check marks is a Sad moment in society. Smh lol,” he tweeted Thursday.
Among other reactions, Ben Stiller tweeted, “No blue check, still feel like me.” Sesame Street’s Grover also commented on the loss of his blue badge. “My cute adorable blue checkmark is now gone, but I, your cute adorable blue monster, am still here!” the character told his 190,000 Twitter fans.