In an event that underscored the contentiousness surrounding social media content and free speech, Elon Musk, Twitter's new owner shared the Daily Wire's influential documentary "What Is A Woman?"
Musk made the move following Twitter's attempts on Thursday to curtail the documentary's exposure by labeling it as potential "hate speech" and applying restrictions due to alleged "misgendering."
The documentary, featuring host Matt Walsh, was posted on Twitter by the Daily Wire to commemorate its one-year release anniversary. The free viewing was part of an initiative to stimulate discussions on the escalating trans rights movement. However, Twitter's administration initially moved to restrict the film's visibility while Musk was in China.
Once Musk got wind of the situation, he declared the move a mistake. However, the documentary still debuted with restrictions. This hitch was resolved early Friday when the limiting tag was removed, enabling Twitter users to like and retweet the film freely. Musk then boosted the film's visibility by sharing it with his 140 million followers.
"Every parent should watch this," urged Musk, amplifying the documentary's reach. He suggested that the prior attempt to restrict it would result in a “Streisand effect” situation, where the documentary would receive far more exposure than if it had been released without controversy.
The move led to a spike in viewership, with the film gaining over 1 million views within three hours of airing, and leaping to over 9 million views after Musk's Twitter endorsement.
The restrictions initially imposed were linked to two instances in the film: a father using feminine pronouns for his transgender-identifying child, and a storeowner addressing a masculine pronoun to a burly city councilman who identified as a woman. Musk, however, stood by the documentary's right to air without a "hateful content" label in the name of free speech.
The Daily Wire's co-CEO, Jeremy Boreing, expressed his surprise when the film went live with restrictions despite Musk's assurances. "Even after Elon Musk said Twitter’s threat to label 'What Is A Woman?' 'hateful conduct'...was a mistake, Twitter did that very thing instantly upon the film going live," Boreing tweeted.
Responding to the criticism, Musk reassured that the situation would be rectified. Following the removal of the restrictions, Matt Walsh thanked Musk for his support, tweeting, "Wow. Thank you, Elon. We really appreciate it."
The documentary, which has been viewed in over 70 countries and has sparked a movement against sex change procedures for minors, saw a 97% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and became the most-watched home movie shortly after its release.