Musk says labeling him antisemitic is ‘bogus’ after tweets led to fresh advertiser exodus from X

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Elon Musk defended himself against fresh antisemitism allegations on Sunday, after his social media posts and concerns over content on X led to a mass exit of advertisers from the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss was accused of amplifying an antisemitic trope in a six-word post to the platform he owns on Wednesday.

“You have said the actual truth,” Musk responded to an X user who wrote on the platform that “Jewish [communities] have been pushing … dialectical hatred against whites.”

He clarified in a subsequent post that he had been referring specifically to Jewish advocacy group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Back in September, Musk threatened to sue the ADL, blaming the organization for lost revenue at X and accusing it of falsely labeling both him and the platform antisemitic.

“To be super clear, I’m pro free speech, but against antisemitism of any kind,” he said at the time.

In a post on X on Sunday, the Tesla CEO doubled down on that stance, labeling renewed reports of him being an antisemite as “bogus.”

X did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

Last week, Musk took to threatening more legal action over new allegations of discriminatory content on X, announcing on Saturday that the company was filing a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against media watchdog Media Matters.

In the preceding days, Media Matters published a report claiming X had placed ads for major companies—including Amazon, NBCUniversal and Apple—beside content that supported white supremacism, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

“Above everything, including profit, X works to protect the public’s right to free speech. But for speech to be truly free, we must also have the freedom to see or hear things that some people may consider objectionable,” X said in a Saturday blog post.

“Despite our clear and consistent position, X has seen a number of attacks from activist groups like Media Matters and legacy media outlets who seek to undermine freedom of expression on our platform because they perceive it as a threat to their ideological narrative and those of their financial supporters,” the firm added. “These groups try to use their influence to attack our revenue streams by deceiving advertisers on X.”

In an emailed statement on Monday, Media Matters president Angelo Carusone accused Musk of using bullying tactics to shut down negative press.

“Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate,” he said. “Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.”

In a post to the social media site on Friday, X CEO Linda Yaccarino argued the company had been “extremely clear” about its stance on antisemitism and discrimination, stating that there was “absolutely no place for it anywhere in the world.”

Her comments came after Musk wrote on X that anyone “advocating for the genocide of any group” would be suspended from the platform.

However, assurances from Musk and Yaccarino—and X’s legal pursuits—do not appear to have been enough to quell concerns among advertisers about the nature of the content being permitted to remain on X.

Among the companies and organizations reported to have withdrawn or reduced their advertising spend on X in recent days are Apple, Disney, IBM, Comcast and the European Commission.

Fortune reached out to all of those organizations for comment on their decision to take a step back from the platform.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told Fortune in an email on Monday that the EU body had noticed “an alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech” across all social media platforms in recent weeks.

“We have therefore advised services to refrain from advertising at this stage on social media platforms where such content is present,” they said. “These internal guidelines are revised very frequently, depending on evolutions.”

The spokesperson noted that the advertising decision was separate from its continued presence on Musk’s X platform.

“This is about advertisement campaigns,” they stressed. “For these, we continuously assess and evaluate the media environment for our campaigns in view of our communication objectives.”

Apple, Disney, IBM and Comcast did not respond to Fortune’s requests for comment.

Prior to last week’s antisemitism storm, X was already reeling from the financial impact of an earlier advertiser exodus, which saw companies including Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo and Unilever pull back from the site over concerns about rapid and controversial changes at the firm under Musk’s leadership.

Yaccarino, a former advertising executive at media giant NBCUniversal, was brought into the company in June to help fix those problems.

In light of the fresh advertiser exodus over the past few days, Yaccarino has reportedly come under pressure from various advertisers to resign. According to a report from the Financial Times, she is currently resisting that pressure.

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