June 1 marked the one-year anniversary of The Daily Wire’s groundbreaking “What Is A Woman?,” and for a limited time, the documentary is free to watch on Twitter.

But how the film ended up on the Elon Musk-owned platform is more complicated than one might suspect.

On Thursday morning, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boering took to Twitter to announce that the company had backed out of a pre-existing deal to stream “What Is A Woman?”—in which podcaster Matt Walsh famously tackles the issue of transgenderism—due to allegedly problematic content.

“After reviewing the film,” Boering wrote, “Twitter let us know that not only could we no longer purchase the package they offered, they would no longer provide us any support and would actually limit the reach of the film and label it as ‘hateful conduct’ because of ‘misgendering.’”

He noted that Daily Wire had just moved all of its shows to Twitter under the impression that the platform was pro-free speech. He urged Elon Musk to rectify the situation.

Elon Musk “is not beholden to conservatives,” he admitted. “He has the right to run his business as he sees fit. But if Twitter is going to throttle one side of one of the most important debates facing society, it cannot claim to champion free speech.”

The topic quickly picked up steam with many opining that the censorship must have escaped Musk’s notice. Unsurprisingly, the CEO soon responded that restricting the documentary “was a mistake by many people at Twitter. It is definitely allowed.”

Despite that, The Daily Wire noted that the film was still heavily restricted and labeled “hateful.” To make matters worse, when Musk chimed in again—after the film was, despite his assurances, censored—he seemed to waver.

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“We’re updating the system tomorrow so that those who follow @realDailyWire will see this in their feed, but it won’t be recommended to non-followers (nor will any advertising be associated with it),” he tweeted. “Commenting & deliberate sharing will be allowed. Sensitive content just won’t be pushed to people unless they ask for it or a friend sends it to them.” Notably, part of Twitter’s canned deal was that The Daily Wire could promote the movie on a designated event page.

Ultimately, the film still premiered on Twitter, albeit with severely restricted visibility. From a free speech standpoint, Musk seemed to have failed.

But by the next morning, not only had all restrictions on the movie been removed, but Musk himself had shared the “sensitive” film to his 140 million followers with the recommendation that “[e]very parent should watch this.” At the time of this writing, the entire film is Musk’s pinned tweet.

“Elon continues to work to make good on his pledge to keep Twitter an open platform,” Ben Shapiro cheered.

“Thank you, Elon,” Matt Walsh added. “We really appreciate it.”

The film now enjoys nearly 80 million views on Twitter and has been reshared extensively. Musk’s retweet alone has over 327,000 likes.

But despite the current popularity of the film, many may now wonder what prompted the controversy in the first place. It no doubt contributed to the growing uneasiness that Musk may not be as reliable as conservatives presumed.

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Of course, the simple explanation is that the whole thing really was just a “mistake by many people at Twitter.” In fact, shortly after “What Is A Woman?” was restricted, a top company official, Ella Irwin, abruptly resigned. Although no official cause for her resignation has been provided, Irwin, interestingly, was in charge of “content moderation.” This has led many to speculate that Musk is still rooting out “woke” employees and that Irwin’s “mistake” led to her departure.

But more than that, here’s my theory.

Even if Elon Musk did not initiate the censoring of “What Is A Woman?”, he could have used the scandal to (1) elevate the film and (2), (at least partially) reclaim his enigmatic reputation.

First, there’s no question that The Daily Wire has benefited from Thursday’s controversy. It dominated social media feeds. Matt Walsh was trending on Twitter. By the time the film finally premiered (unrestricted), its profile had been hugely elevated… thanks to Elon Musk.

Additionally, we can presume that the Tesla founder enjoys being something of an enigma. He enjoys keeping the media on its toes. Until he bought Twitter, the world did not know Elon Musk, the man, very well at all. He was shrouded in mystery. Since then, however, as Musk has become more openly political, that inscrutable nature has been lost… almost.

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“What happened to Elon Musk?” CNN asked in a recent opinion piece.

“For years, Elon Musk was a mysterious, intriguing and widely admired figure,” wrote columnist Frida Ghitis. “This was back before he purchased Twitter and clasped his hands firmly on the wheel of the social media platform, boosting his influence and magnifying his voice, in the process revealing that the man behind the spectacular business achievements of Tesla and SpaceX is not quite what he had led us to believe.”

One wonders if his random bouts of unpredictability are not deliberate, well-timed reminders that he is still just that… unpredictable. Whenever he starts to lean so far into right-wing media as to seem like a hack, he shakes things up and proves (again) that he’s nobody’s lackey.

But in the end, whether this theory is correct or not, Elon Musk has proved that he is on the side of free speech.

His company is far from perfect, and so is he. But unless we want to go back to a world where “What Is A Woman?” cannot be consumed at all, I would recommend we appreciate Elon Musk, enigma or not.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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