As Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter grows increasingly disastrous, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s public reputation has never been worse. But the billionaire still has plenty of defenders, and one of them is Reed Hastings, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix.
According to Deadline, Hastings appeared at a keynote discussion at the New York Times DealBook conference, during which he spoke favorably of Musk, calling him “the bravest, most creative person on the planet.”
“What he’s done in multiple areas is phenomenal,” Hastings said. “His style is different. I’m trying to be, like, a steady, respectable leader up here and he’s just out there.”
During the conversation at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which was moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Hastings referred to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter as an attempt to try and make a positive contribution to the planet. Hastings defended the acquisition, which many have criticized as a wasteful ego-based move on the part of Musk, saying he could have used the $44 billion he put into the social media platform to build “a mile-long yacht.” But instead, he “wants to do something for the planet.”
When Sorkin questioned Hastings’ interpretation of Musk’s acquisition, Hastings said he is “100% convinced that [Musk] is trying to help the world in all of his endeavors,” and the purchase of Twitter is motivated by Musk’s belief in “free speech and the powers of democracy.”
Hastings also defended Musk from criticism regarding many of his initiatives since taking over Twitter, including the botched relaunch of Twitter’s verified system to include users that subscribe to the Twitter Blue premium service — a strategy that resulted in bad press and advertisers fleeing the site after accounts used it to impersonate public figures and brands. Hastings, who reiterated that he is “deeply respectful” of Musk, admitted that the blue check mark rollout didn’t go well, but accused detractors of “nitpicking” the CEO’s failures.
“People are so picky on the blue check mark, and yes he’s making a mess of some things,” Hastings said. “This guy just spent all this money trying to make things better for democracy and society, to have a more open platform, and I am sympathetic to that agenda.”