'Give the Guy a Break': Netflix CEO Defends Elon Musk's Twitter Takeover

Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings spoke about the billionaire on Wednesday during the DealBook conference in New York City.

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By Emily Rella

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Reed Hastings

Elon Musk has faced much criticism in the wake of his acquisition of Twitter, but one fellow CEO is standing by his side — and holding him in high praise.

Netflix co-CEO, Reed Hastings, spoke Wednesday with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook conference where he commended the billionaire on his leadership tactics and business acumen.

"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."

Hastings went on to call the SpaceX and Tesla CEO the "bravest, most creative person on the planet" before adding that he believes that he's "100 percent convinced that [Musk] is trying to help the world," noting that his $44 billion purchase of Twitter went towards buying a company that he is trying to fix versus a "mile-long yacht."

Hastings also paid note to Musk's contentious on-and-off rollout and pullback of blue checkmarks on Twitter for verified and notable users.

"People are so picky on the blue checkmark, and yes he's making a mess of some things," Hastings admitted. "Can you give the guy a break? 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."

Musk caused a commotion on the platform last month when he began allowing users to pay $8 a month to purchase a blue checkmark, confusing many users as to which accounts were really verified and which were parodied or imposters.

The chaos caused the billionaire to rescind the feature (with promises that it would be fine-tuned and rolled out at a later date). He then introduced the grey checkmark, which Twitter has been doling out as a secondary verification source for notable organizations, officials, and people of influence.

Musk tweeted earlier this week that his upheaval of Twitter was a "battle for the future of civilization" and that if free speech, whatever he deems it, is lost, "tyranny is all that lies ahead."

Musk had not publicly addressed Hastings' comments at press time.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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