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Elon Musk leaves people confused over ‘ignorant’ question about sign language

Elon Musk leaves people confused over ‘ignorant’ question about sign language

The tech tycoon has managed to put his foot in it on social media once again.

Elon Musk is a bloke with more experience than most when it comes to putting his foot in it.

Since he took over Twitter, rebranded it as X and got rid of the beloved little blue bird, the tech tycoon has really upped his posting game - so much so, that reading his tweets is like getting a glimpse of his diary.

It seems that any random thought which pops into Musk's head is fair game, but this can sometimes land him in a spot of bother on social media.

The Tesla CEO, 52, has come under fire for a recent post where he posed a question to his 171million followers.

He had started a debate about Disney online and a user replied to him with a leaked video of Karey Burke, the president of Disney's General Entertainment Content, from a company-wide meeting.

The footage featured both subtitles and a male sign language interpreter, which seems to have really puzzled Musk.

The business mogul wrote in a tweet on Tuesday: "What’s the point of sign language in a video if you have subtitles? Am I missing something?"

Although it may have been a sincere question, a lot of people branded Musk 'ignorant' - especially when a quick Google search could have saved him the shame of royally showing himself up.

As you can imagine, his post was met with a lot of backlash from the deaf community who made it clear that it is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to communication.

Elon Musk has managed to spark outrage with a post on X.
Steve Granitz/Getty Images

One wrote: "I'm Deaf. There are no two Deaf individuals alike. Some prefer closed captions (CC) and others prefer ASL interpreters. Some are visually impaired. Some ASL interpreters are not clear or makes mistakes. The same goes for CC. "Oftentimes the CC is incorrect or misspells something. We always need both as back-up to each other."

Another sarcastically replied: "What’s the point of audiobooks if you have textbooks? Am I missing something?"

A third said: "Yep. You’re missing something. Like the fact that sign language is its own language with its own grammar and structure. Not all deaf people can read English, and not all deaf people know sign language."

A fourth added: "Elon Musk’s casual disregard for sign language not only exposes his sheer ignorance about accessibility but also a perplexing insensitivity for a tech magnate of his stature. This reveals that technological prowess does not necessarily come with an understanding of human diversity.

"Innovation without empathy is a path to exclusion, not progress."

The video featured both subtitles and a sign language interpreter.

And a fifth chimed in: "Yes, you're missing something, Elon. You're missing having any critical thinking skills."

But not everyone was convinced that Musk meant any ill will when he shared his query online.

One user said in support: "Well it really doesn't make much sense… if the person knows sign language, surely they know how to read as well."

Another wrote: "My partner who is deaf agrees with you @elonmusk. Interpreters will 'interpret' was is being said, potentially change the words and meaning of the point ... Whereas closed captioning allows the deaf to read exactly what the person says and means."

A third commented: "Huh. I've always wondered why this is the case in America. We've only had subtitles for a long time."

And a fourth added: "Good point!"

According to Languagers, sign language is often the 'only real language' that a lot of deaf people have ever known, and although they can read and write in English, this is like their 'second language'.

"In effect, whenever pre-lingually deaf people (those born deaf) see closed captions, they are forced to switch from their mother tongue to a second language, where the fast pace of dialogue can see some things get lost in translation," it said.

Featured Image Credit: Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Topics: Celebrity, Elon Musk, Twitter, Social Media