Celebs Who've Been Banned From Twitter Since Elon Musk Took Over

In 2022, popular social media platform Twitter was purchased by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Per The New York Times, the businessman acquired the website for $44 billion. As he shared on the app, "The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence."

Musk's purchase was met with criticism from many, and it prompted a slew of celebrities to publicly exit Twitter entirely. "Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye," television producer Shonda Rhimes shared before parting ways with the app.

While some left, others were banned from the platform. When Musk took over in October 2022, he implemented a parody policy that reads, "You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations to mislead, confuse, or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter." It didn't take long for users to be banned for violating the new policy, famous and non-famous alike. Here are the public figures who've been banned from Twitter since Elon Musk took over.

Kathy Griffin impersonated Elon Musk

One of the most prominent celebrities to be banned from the social media platform in the era of Elon Musk is Kathy Griffin. Griffin, best known for her work as a comedian, changed her name and profile picture to match Musk's, and tweeted, "After much spirited discussion with the females in my life. I've decided that voting blue for their choice is only right (They're also sexy females, btw.) #VoteBlueToProtectWomen," per CBS News.

Griffin took to Instagram to address the suspension in multiple posts, including one that reposted a TikTok explaining the drama, noting that the comedian logged onto her dead mother's account to continue tweeting. The post's caption reads, "Cannot stop laughing at this! Elon can't quit me."

This isn't the first time Griffin has sparked controversy on the platform. In 2017, Griffin posted a photo of herself holding a bloody mask resembling then-president Donald Trump, as reported by The New York Times. Griffin was not suspended from Twitter as a result, but she was fired by CNN from her New Year's Eve hosting duties. Griffin spoke to The New York Times about the incident in early 2022. "I wasn't canceled ... I was erased," she said.

Ethan Klein also impersonated Elon Musk

Ethan Klein rose to prominence through his podcast and work on YouTube, and he's been vocal on other social media platforms as well, including Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. However, after impersonating Elon Musk, Klein no longer has access to his Twitter account — even after, as Klein noted on "The H3 Podcast," he marked his account as "parody."

"Even though Jeffery Epstein committed horrible crimes, I do still miss him on nights like this for his warmth and comradery. Rest In Peace old friend," one of Klein's tweets read, per Vice. The YouTuber took to TikTok to address his suspension, stating in the video, "Comedy is dead, and Elon Musk dug the grave. Shame on you." 

Just weeks prior to his Twitter ban, Klein was suspended from YouTube for some comments he made about Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative political commentator. "If there's another Holocaust and people start rounding up the Jews again I hope Ben [Shapiro] gets gassed first. Or last," he said in the video, per The Jerusalem Post. "Do you think it would be more justice if he got first or last?" Klein, who is Jewish, was unable to upload episodes of his podcast to YouTube for a week in light of the suspension, and he issued an apology for his remarks.

Rich Sommer parodied Elon Musk

Rich Sommer is another celebrity who was banned from Twitter after violating its impersonation policy. Sommer, like Kathy Griffin and Ethan Klein, posed as majority shareholder Elon Musk, and per Insider, posted multiple tweets to his account.

"Okay, time to employ plan b since they're MAKING me keep twitter," one tweet read. Another one said, "Does anyone know any advertisers who are, like, kind of 'into' racism NOT ACTUAL RACISTS!! just ad ppl who are, y'know, curious about what it's all about (racism)."

Sommer, who's best known for his work on "Mad Men" and "The Devil Wears Prada," told the outlet that while he figured he would get dinged for it, he was trying to illustrate the potential issues with Musk's new blue check mark rules and requirements. Regarding his ban, he said, "I had absolutely, let me be very clear, no intention of anyone truly believing that I was Elon Musk. I wanted to, I guess go down in flames. I knew I was headed for the exit door probably. But I also, just while I had that blue check, wanted to show that anyone could say they were anyone."

Chris Kluwe was punted from Twitter

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe also impersonated Elon Musk, and he was subsequently banned from the platform. Per Newsweek, Kluwe changed his profile picture to one of Musk, changed his location to "Hell," changed his bio line to read "Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator," and tweeted, "Gosh, if all these blue checkmarks started impersonating me to obliterate the power of my management it would be JUST LIKE a union strike, and I can't be having that! It would TANK the value of my $44b investment REAL quick."

Kluwe explained to Insider his intention behind his parodied tweet, it sounds like he was not exactly surprised by how things played out. Much like Rich Sommer, he intentionally broke the rules. "Really the whole point was that I knew I was breaking the terms of service – like if they're perfectly within their rights to kick me off because you're not allowed to impersonate people, it's bad for disinformation – but under this new plan of trying to monetize the verified status, that's exactly what's going to happen," he said.

Kluwe has weathered Twitter drama in the past. Per Sports Illustrated, in 2014 the football player posted a series of tweets about his former NFL team after claiming he was fired for publicly supporting gay marriage. Kluwe sued the Vikings for wrongful termination, and the two parties settled outside of court.

Jeph Jacques was suspended, too

Cartoonist Jeph Jacques also got booted for — you guessed it — impersonating Elon Musk. Acting as the new Twitter CEO, Jacques changed his profile picture and name on the platform, and he posted a series of tweets. In one, he wrote, "look can everyone just stop tweeting for a second? it's too fast for me to moderate by myself." A few hours before that one, he posted, "never did find out what Grimes' real name was," referencing Musk's ex-girlfriend and mother to two of his children.

Jacques is best known for his project Questionable Content, a sci-fi webcomic that, per his website, has been going strong since 2003. Following his Twitter suspension, he told Insider, "Elon has reacted exactly as I would have expected. And I'm very proud of everybody who took part in this amazing sequence of events."

The parody rule does not only apply to Twitter users who pose as Musk on the app. After the SpaceX CEO took the reins, a number of accounts have been suspended for impersonating other celebrities. According to NBC News reporter Ben Collins, users have been suspended from Twitter for tweeting as Andy Ngo and Keanu Reeves.