Elon Musk is paying for a few of his favorite celebrities to stay on Twitter Blue, even after they dissed the new blue checks

Elon Musk is paying for a few of his favorite celebrities to stay on Twitter Blue, even after they dissed the new blue checks
Elon Musk controls SpaceX and is the CEO of Twitter.Britta Pedersen/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk said he's personally paying for several top celebrities' Twitter Blue subscriptions.
  • The Twitter CEO said he's paid subscriptions for Stephen King, LeBron James, and William Shatner.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk says he's personally paying for several celebrities to stay on Twitter Blue after they refused to pay $8 for a monthly subscription.

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

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

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"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 users who aren't subscribed to its $8-per-month service.

However, The Verge 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.

Platformer's Zoë Schiffer reported in March that James was one of the 35 "VIP users" that had their accounts' visibility boosted by Twitter.


As for Shatner, the actor criticized Musk 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.

The 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, several other celebrities have lost their Twitter verification badges, including Halle Berry, Shaquille O'Neal, Stephen Colbert, J.K. Rowling, and 50 Cent. Over in South Korea, the Twitter account for the KPop supergroup BTS also lost its blue checkmark.


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