Comedian Kathy Griffin called business magnate Elon Musk a "white supremacist" in a tweet on Monday.
While attacking Musk, Griffin also took a swipe at media figure Piers Morgan who fired back, referencing Griffin's controversial decision years ago to pose with an object that looked like the bloodied head of then-President Donald Trump.
"Think of the damage Zuckerberg has done. Musk is a Piers Morgan level media thirsty, vindictive, white supremacist who is looking to convince you he is an innovative disruptor," Griffin declared.
"I don't think @elonmusk should take vindictive lectures from someone who gleefully posed with a mocked-up model of a US President’s severed head, then played the pitiful victim card to get herself out of any accountability for such a vile stunt," Morgan responded.
Musk has reached a deal to buy Twitter and plans to make the platform a place where people can engage in free speech.
"The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all," Musk tweeted on Tuesday.
"That was quick," Griffin tweeted in response to Musk's post.
Musk later added, "By 'free speech', I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people."
Shaun King has said Musk's desire to buy the company is "about white power."
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts claimed that the "deal is dangerous for our democracy."
"Let us be clear: It isn’t free speech Elon Musk is defending. It is truly free speech he fears — a society in which the chance to be heard is abundant and free and equitably distributed," Anand Giridharadas tweeted on Tuesday.
Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted on Monday that "If Musk takes over Twitter I will be off within a few hours."
Dean's account "no longer exists," according to the platform.
Twitter announced on Monday that the company "entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company."
Editor's note: The original published version of this story erroneously called Howard Dean a former chair of the Democratic National Convention, but the story has been updated to correctly refer to Dean as a former chair of the Democratic National Committee.