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Elon Musk’s X to pay legal bills for Canadian doctor chastised over COVID-19 tweets

Elon Musk’s X said it’s funding legal bills for a Canadian doctor previously chastised by regulators for her tweets about COVID-19.

In a post to the X News account on Sunday morning, the company formerly known as Twitter wrote that it’s “proud to defend” Dr. Kulvinder Kaur Gill against what it calls “government-supported efforts to cancel her speech.”

In 2021, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario cautioned the Brampton, Ont.-based pediatrics specialist over her tweets, including one saying vaccination for COVID-19 was unnecessary. 

The doctor has an ongoing crowdfunding campaign asking for $300,000 to help pay for legal costs, including a cost order related to a lawsuit she launched against what she called a “malicious online smear campaign.”

Gill issued an X post saying Musk committed to paying the remainder of her crowdfunding campaign and helping her appeal the College’s cautions from 2021. 

Gill tagged Musk in a post asking him for help earlier this week, saying she owed around $300,000 in costs that were due in four days. 

Publicly available legal filings show that Gill previously launched a lawsuit against 23 defendants. The claim was dismissed, awarding costs to the defendants totalling more than $1.1 million. 

Gill appealed the dismissal, though only regarding her claim against four of the defendants, and sought leave to appeal the related costs orders. The appeal was dismissed, and she was refused leave to appeal the costs orders. 

Last August, Musk posted on X promising to fund the legal bills of anyone who was “unfairly treated” by their employers “due to posting or liking something on this platform.” 

“No limit,” he wrote. 

It’s been almost a year and a half since Musk bought Twitter for US$44 billion, taking the formerly publicly traded company private. 

He has since renamed the platform X and made sweeping changes, including dismantling its verification system, and getting rid of the majority of the workforce including engineers and moderators. 

Experts have raised concern about the amount of misinformation being posted and algorithmically promoted on X, including about topics like the Israel-Hamas war.

— With files from The Associated Press

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2024

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