Elon Musk doesn’t seem to care about the ongoing advertiser boycott on X, triggered by his public endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. While he apologized for ..., the multi-billionaire lashed out at advertisers using profanity-laced words. He accused the firms of blackmailing him by pulling ads from the social media app.
“I hope they stop. Don’t advertise,” Musk told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook conference on Wednesday evening. “If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Go. F**k. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.” The X owner singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger as he said that. Iger was on the stage earlier in the day and said Disney doesn’t want to associate itself with Musk.
Elon Musk lashes out at advertisers amid a widespread boycott
The latest advertiser boycott on X/Twitter began about two weeks ago when Musk called a post attacking Jewish people the “actual truth.” More than 100 brands have pulled out their ads from the platform since his comments. This brand exodus is estimated to cause the company a loss of $75 million by the end of the year. However, Musk seemingly doesn’t care a bit.
For a moment, he appeared to have realized his mistake. “I should in retrospect not have replied to that one person,” Musk said. He even tried clarifying what he actually meant by that post—his belief that Jewish people are funding causes meant to “annihilate” them. He blamed the media for not covering his clarifications, though the clarification seemed to be supporting the antisemitic conspiracy theory.
“Essentially I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably to those who are antisemitic,” Musk said about media backlash and advertiser boycott triggered by his comments. “For that, I’m quite sorry. That was not my intention.” However, despite occasionally sounding apologetic, Musk made it clear that he doesn’t care about advertisers fleeing X.
“What this advertising boycott is gonna do is it’s gonna kill the company,” the Tesla CEO said. “That is what everybody on Earth will know. We’ll be gone, and it’ll be gone because of an advertiser boycott.” As The Verge noted, “Musk seemed alternatingly apologetic and defiant” over the matter. He gave the most nonchalant answers to questions about the advertiser issue on X.
X CEO said it was a temporary pause from advertisers
Musk’s comments came a couple of weeks after X CEO Linda Yaccarino said that this advertiser exodus was temporary. She suggested that companies paused investments because of the misleading and manipulated report published by Media Matters earlier this month. X has already sued Media Matters, but advertisers haven’t returned to the platform yet. It remains to be seen how the scenario changes following Musk’s interview. Yaccarino was in the audience as Musk launched a profane attack on advertisers.