Some Notes on Elon Musk and a Moral Entrepreneur

From Joseph Menn at the Washington Post:

Elon Musk escalated his battle of words with previous managers of Twitter into risky new territory over the weekend… implying that the company’s former head of trust and safety had a permissive view of sexual activity by minors.

…In the Spaces session late Friday, Musk seemed to agree with a host known as Eliza Bleu that [former Twitter safety chief Yoel] Roth and his staff had been too busy censoring conservatives to provide resources to identify and block abusive child sex material. Bleu is an activist podcaster who wrote three columns this year on conspiracy promoter Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze…. Bleu, who last year tweeted a photo of herself with Pizzagate promoter and alt-right provocateur Mike Cernovich, was joined on the Spaces session by Ella Irwin, who was hired by Twitter in June and was promoted to trust and safety head after Roth’s departure.

…In response Sunday to questions she said she’d received about her own claim of having been trafficked, which she has not detailed, Bleu tweeted that she had reluctantly come forward as a public advocate in 2020 by speaking to conservative Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire.

On Twitter, Bleu also drew Musk’s attention to a 2010 Tweet by Roth asking “Can high school students ever meaningly consent to sex with their teachers?” as evidence that Roth would have been predisposed to corrupting Twitter’s safety standards – the old “” url included with the Tweet failed to show that he was referring to a Salon article about a teacher charged over sex with an 18-year-old student. Roth is now reportedly in hiding due to threats against him, some of which have been allowed to persist on Twitter despite reports. Menn is also now being subjected to “pedo”-themed abuse (see replies and quote-tweets here).

At various times last year, Bleu Tweeted that “the world is ran by a satanic pedo ring” or “evil pedo ring”, each time for some reason using “is ran” rather than “is run”. Menn has RTed one example of this, presumably as evidence that Musk is aligning with QAnon-esque excesses, although it doesn’t feature in his article. Perhaps her assertion was meant to express frustration at the injustices of the world rather than being a serious proposition, but without an explanation it can only serve to inflame conspiracy worldviews. (1)

Shortly after Musk’s purchase of Twitter, Bleu wrote a Newsweek op-ed headlined “While Blue Checks Whine About Extremism, Elon Musk Is Protecting Sexually Exploited Children”. Bleu referred to an ongoing legal action involving two complainants who that allege Twitter failed to remove images of their underage sexual exploitation, and on the issue more broadly she says that she found a meeting with Twitter corporate arranged personally by then CEO Jack Dorsey to be “a waste of time”.

Bleu has been cited in the media as a “survivor” more than once, but it is difficult to reconcile the centrality of her personal experience to her credentials as a moral entrepreneur with the fact that, as Menn notes, she has “not detailed” her story. She has, however, stated that she was exploited after relocating to Los Angeles aged 17 in search of fame, and that “the man who promised her heaven on earth sold her to another man for a mere $500”. She further claims that this was “the beginning of an ordeal that was to last for over 15 years”.

Bleu was 17 years old in 2002; during the same period she was a student who was earning extra money cutting hair for pop bands on tour. In this capacity she met and started dating Gerard Way, frontman of the band My Chemical Romance, stating that Way dominated her life “for the next 4-5 years”. In 2006 she appeared on Blind Date, and from there went on to gain an online profile associated with social media influencers.

This doesn’t preclude the possibility that there was also some hidden malign and coercive presence in her life, perhaps appearing intermittently, but it raises reasonable questions. However, when Menn contacted her for comment, she did not reply, “instead tagging the reporter in a tweeted obscenity”. We might also ask why no police reports have been made or legal actions launched, particularly now that she has Musk’s patronage.

UPDATE (2 February 2023): Bleu’s backstory has come under critical scrutiny from the Daily Beast, under the headline “Eliza Bleu’s Own Friends Aren’t Buying Her Trafficking Story”. The story confirms her original identity as Eliza Morthland, daughter of Richard Morthland. Her father is a “former Illinois state representative who ran unsuccessfully on the GOP ticket for lieutenant governor in 2018”. I noticed an exchange on Twitter in which it was claimed that Bleu’s father had run for governor – I thought it was a tell that she seized on this as an error made by a critic but failed to clarify that it was close to the truth.


1. Despite refusing to engage with Menn ahead of publication (“go fuck yourself” – here), she now complains that he failed to mention that she had previously spoken against QAnon “misinformation”. She cites a 2020 NBC News article by Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins, even though that article refers to her only as “Eliza”, whose “last name is being withheld to protect her identity from former abusers”; and a November 2022 Washington Post article by Taylor Lorenz which noted that she had “attempted to swat down” conspiracy theories about the “Gas” app.

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