Elon Musk is facing a mass boycott from major companies after endorsing an allegedly antisemitic post.
Musk, 52, who has been strongly criticised by the Anti-Defamation League and Israel’s Foreign Ministry for his past remarks, responded to a man who posted on X criticising a Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism campaign video.
People have accused the X CEO of supporting antisemitism which has caused a backlash from not only other companies who advertise on the site, but even government bodies such as The White House and the EU.
What did Elon Musk say?
Musk, 52, who has been strongly criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and Israel ‘s Foreign Ministry for his past remarks
He sparked a firestorm on Wednesday by responding to a man who claimed: ‘Jewish communities have been pushing dialectical hatred against whites’
Elon Musk responded to a post that seemed to purport the far-right ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory.
The post on X said: ‘Jewish communities have been pushing dialectical hatred against whites.’
The billionaire, who has 163 million followers on X, replied: ‘You have said the actual truth.’
But Mr Musk later backtracked on his comment and has promised to hit back against what he claims is a ‘fraudulent attack’ on his company by media watchdog non-profit Media Matters for America.
Since his controversial remarks on Wednesday, several major companies have announced boycotts of the social media site.
Musk, who has 163 million followers, replied to the post with: ‘You have said the actual truth’
Which advertisers have pulled out?
Apple has paused all advertising on X after owner Elon Musk agreed with the post.
On Friday Axios reported Apple would pause its advertising on the platform after 164 rabbis and activists called on Apple, Google, Amazon and Disney to stop advertising.
IBM, the European Commission and Lions Gate Entertainment have also suspended ads on the platform in response to Musk’s post.
The companies who have so far paused ad spending on the platform also include Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Sky and NBC Universal owner Comcast.
Media Matters put out a report claiming that it had found ads from big brands including IBM, Apple, Oracle and Comcast’s Xfinity and Bravo running next to content ‘that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party’
IBM, one of X’s biggest advertisers, told The Guardian: ‘IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.’
Media Matters alleges that X was serving up adverts for IBM, Apple, Oracle, NBC Universal and Comcast’s Xfinity alongside pro-Nazi content.
But a number of British brands already paused advertising on X before the latest controversy.
John Lewis said it stopped advertising last year for ‘commercial reasons’. Vodafone did not tell The Times whether it was pulling its ads.
It told the paper: ‘X is a low-priority advertising channel for Vodafone UK and VOXI.’
The company also said it had strong advertising safety controls over any media placements.
What did the White House say?
The White House issued a statement on what it called Musk’s ‘abhorrent’ promotion of antisemitism.
‘We condemn this abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,’ spokesman Andrew Bates said.
‘We all have a responsibility to bring people together against hate, and an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the dignity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities.’
What is Elon Musk’s response?
Elon Musk, 52, has promised to hit back against what he claims is a ‘fraudulent attack’ on his company by media watchdog non-profit Media Matters for America
In the bombshell letter, Musk called for his followers to ‘Stand with X to protect free speech’, as he claimed Media Matters ‘misrepresented the real user experience on X in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers.’
Media Matters reported that X was placing adverts from companies including Amazon, IBM and NBCUniversal next to content with white nationalist hashtags.
But Musk claims the non-profit company alongside ‘legacy media outlets’ have been trying 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’.
In a series of posts following his vow to file a lawsuit, Musk has called Media Matters ‘pure evil’ and claimed the ‘discovery and depositions will be glorious to behold’.=
Apple has paused all advertising on X after owner Elon Musk agreed with a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people
X CEO Linda Yaccarino said X’s ‘point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board.’
‘I think that’s something we can and should all agree on,’ she posted on Thursday.
Musk decried Media Matters as ‘an evil organisation.’
Why was Elon Musk criticised before?
The billionaire 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.
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’.
X isn’t alone in dealing with problematic content since the Hamas-Israel war began.
On Thursday, TikTok removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica after users on the app posted sympathetic videos about Osama bin Laden’s 2002 letter justifying the terrorist attacks against Americans on 9/11 and criticising U.S. support for Israel.
The Guardian, which published the transcript of the letter that was being shared, took it down and replaced it with a statement that directed readers to a news article from 2002 that it said provided more context.