Elon Musk, the world’s richest person and the owner of X/Twitter, has accused some of the biggest advertisers of trying to “blackmail” him and his social network by pulling their spending following Musk’s endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Musk spoke at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday. There, he addressed the companies that had halted their ad campaigns on X, including Disney, IBM, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony, Comcast and NBCUniversal, and Lionsgate. “Go f*ck yourself. Go f*ck yourself. Is that clear?” he said, as shared by Variety.
whoa — “go fuck yourself,” Elon Musk says to Bob Iger and others who pull advertising from X
at this point it’s almost as if he’s watching the old Iron Man movies and doing a reverse Tony Stark impression pic.twitter.com/csXxeLH2wG
— j.d. durkin (@jd_durkin) November 29, 2023
“Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f*ck yourself,” he said.
Musk’s controversial post, which he later admitted was “foolish,” praised a user who promoted the antisemitic replacement theory, which claims that Jewish people are orchestrating a plot to replace white populations with immigrants. The post drew criticism from the White House, and resulted in backlash from advertisers who did not want to be associated with Musk and X/Twitter.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, who also spoke at the DealBook Summit, said that he respected Musk and his achievements but decided to suspend advertising on X because of Musk’s public stance.
Elsewhere, Media Matters, a non-profit organization, recently revealed how X was displaying ads from major brands like Apple and IBM next to posts that glorified Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. This too, resulted in several advertisers pulling their ads from the platform.
X subsequently filed a lawsuit against Media Matters, arguing that its report is a smear campaign that does not reflect the typical user experience on X. Read more about it here.