The Verge has confirmed that an employee at Twitter emailed James, who has previously said he wouldn’t pay for verification, to “extend a complimentary subscription to Twitter Blue for your account, @kingjames, on behalf of Elon Musk.”
We contacted James’ longtime media advisor, Adam Mendelsohn, who confirmed that James hasn’t paid to be verified. However, after we first published this information, Musk said that he’s paying for “a few” subscriptions “personally.”
James has perhaps been the most famous hater of paid verification on Twitter, insisting that, like Martin Lawrence’s TV show character, “I ain’t paying the $5.” But if you check his profile right now, he still has a verified badge. Once you hover over the badge, it says that “this account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”
Many other NBA players, like Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson, and Ja Morant, appeared to have lost their blue checks on Thursday.
Rapper Ice T, who said “fuck that checkmark” in March, also still has a verified badge. “The fact that we’re even discussing Blue Check marks is a Sad moment in society,” he said on Thursday. “Smh lol.”
When reached for comment, Twitter’s press email replied with a poop emoji, which it has been doing for weeks.
Update April 20th, 6:46PM ET: Added tweet Elon Musk to Stephen King.
Update April 20th, 6:13PM ET: Added confirmation from Elon Musk that he is paying for “a few” Twitter Blue subscriptions.
Update April 20th, 6:05PM ET: Added details about Elon Musk offering James a complimentary Twitter Blue subscription.