It’s just as well that Elon Musk can afford to be cancelled because tonight he told his advertisers: ‘Go f*** yourself.’
Musk appeared at The New York Times’ DealBook summit, and was pressed by host Andrew Ross Sorkin on his November 15 tweet and the resulting fallout.
Companies including Apple, Paramount, Airbnb and Uber pulled their advertising from X – a move which X internal documents projected could cost the company $75 million.
Asked about his post, Musk said he had ‘no problem being hated.’
He added: ‘Essentially I handed a loaded gun to the people who hate me.’
Musk complained that the media ignored his attempts to clarify his post – but insisted his visit to Israel this week, touring areas devastated in the October 7 attack, and meeting the country’s leaders – was not ‘an apology tour’.
Elon Musk on Wednesday appeared at the DealBook Summit in New York City
The South African-born billionaire is seen on Wednesday in conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin
Musk is seen on Monday with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, visiting kibbutz Kfar Aza – one of the sites attacked by Hamas on October 7
He said his critics should focus on his work.
‘We make the best cars,’ he said. ‘Whether you hate me, like me or are indifferent, do you want the best car or not the best car?’
He also apologized for his seeming support of white nationalists.
Musk, who has been strongly criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and Israel’s Foreign Ministry for his past remarks, was on November 15 responding to a man who posted a screed on X criticizing a Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism campaign video.
In the video, a father is seen talking to his son about the online hatred the son has spewed, and calling him out for his rhetoric.
The X user dismissed the video, writing: ‘Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.
‘I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s*** now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.
‘You want truth said to your face, there it is.’
Musk, who has 163 million followers, replied: ‘You have said the actual truth.’
On Wednesday, Musk said: ‘I should in retrospect not have replied to that particular post.’
But he was defiant in the face of the advertising boycott, accusing the companies of blackmail and telling them – to the shock of the audience: ‘They can go f*** themselves.’
Musk on November 19 attempted to clarify his November 15 tweet
He attempted again to try and explain the tweet, and criticized groups such as the Anti-Defamation League that have condemned him.
‘What I was saying was that it’s unwise to support groups that want your annihilation,’ he said.
Musk has a long history of toying with dog-whistle rhetoric about Jewish people, in particular George Soros, who enraged him in May by selling his Tesla stock.
He has also angered people with his response to the Israel-Hamas war.
In the days after the October 7 Hamas terror attack, Musk was forced to delete a tweet which recommended an anti-Semitic account and a promoter of debunked videos as reliable sources of information about the attack on Israel.
The owner of X, formerly Twitter, faced a furious backlash after telling his 159 million followers that the accounts @WarMonitors and @sentdefender were ‘good’ for ‘following the war in real time’.
Followers were quick to point out that @WarMonitors has repeatedly used ‘jew’ as a term of abuse on the platform, telling New York supermarket boss Avi Kaner to ‘mind your own business, jew’.
‘The guy Musk recommends for information on the Israel-Hamas escalation is an anti-Semitic account with a history of spreading misinformation,’ wrote Sam Sokol of Israeli newspaper Haaretz.