The defiance of Elon Musk seems to have some limits, as the X on top of what I guess we're now supposed to refer to as the X Building was removed on Monday morning, after a weekend of neighbor complaints.
Just yesterday, SFist reported on the city investigation that was prompted after the hasty installation of the new, illuminated X sign that went up on the old Twitter headquarters/SF Mart building. As with some other things alleged by former employees that went on inside the building after Musk's takeover, and as with the removal of the Twitter signage last week, this appears have been done entirely without city permits.
The sign, installed Saturday, lit up bright neon white after dark, and, obnoxiously, flashed in a strobe pattern in a fairly obvious "fuck you" to the city and to all surrounding neighbors. And Musk even tweeted/X'd some bullshit over the weekend about how despite all the hassle he's endured here, he remains committed to keeping his X company in San Francisco.
"Many have offered rich incentives for X (fka Twitter) to move its HQ out of San Francisco,” he wrote on Saturday. "Moreover, the city is in a doom spiral with one company after another left or leaving. Therefore, they expect X will move too. We will not. You only know who your real friends are when the chips are down. San Francisco, beautiful San Francisco, though others forsake you, we will always be your friend."
Would a friend really install a strobe light on their roof aimed at your window? He's definitely no friend of the residents of Fox Plaza!
But now the X and its ugly scaffold supports have come down, pending the next iteration, no doubt.
"It was annoying," says neighbor Miao Gong, speaking to KTVU this morning. "It was so bright that it was actually hurting my eyes a little bit. I think if it had just stayed on, I could've ignored it, but because it kept flashing, it was hard to ignore."
According to KTVU, the unscrewing and dismantling of the sign began at 9 a.m. Monday. This followed some thwarted efforts by the city to send inspectors to inspect the sign, after those inspectors were reportedly barred from entering the building by X employees.
Musk has not yet commented on the removal of the sign, and there is likely a Plan B in the works — we just don't know what it is.
Update: The city of San Francisco is reportedly going to fine X Corp. over the sign installation and removal, and charge them for the Department of Building Inspection investigation.
In related news, Musk and his attorney Alex Spiro have threatened to sue a nonprofit organization which has purported to be documenting the rise in hate speech on the Twitter platform since Musk dropped many of the company's moderation rules last fall. As the Associated Press reports, Spiro sent a letter, dated July 20, to the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), questioning the expertise of its researchers and accusing them of trying "to harm Twitter’s business by driving advertisers away from the platform with incendiary claims."
In a statement to the AP, Imran Ahmed, the founder and CEO of CCDH called the legal threat "an unprecedented escalation by a social media company against independent researchers," adding, "Musk has just declared open war.” Ahmed further said, “If Musk succeeds in silencing us other researchers will be next in line."