Elon Mask has been mastering backtracking of late, but he has done so with a bit more fire and choice words of his own.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and majority owner of Twitter called tweets he posted in mid-November that many, including the White House, considered antisemitic “one of the most foolish if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform.”
“I’m sorry for that tweet or post,” Musk said at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit on Nov. 29 about his agreeing with another Twitter user accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites” and saying that the tweeter had “said the actual truth.”
But when it comes to Disney, Apple, Paramount, Coca-Cola and others suspending tens of millions of dollars of ads from Twitter because of his comments, Musk said at the DealBook Summit: “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f— yourself. Go. F—. Yourself. Is that clear?”
Musk implied in an on-stage interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that his supporters would take punishing action in response to ad pullers. “The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we will document it in great detail,” Musk threatened.
Defending Musk and X
X’s CEO Linda Yaccarino said of Musk’s profanity-laced comments:
“We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions on X. And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work — Thank You.”
The New York Times reported that Yaccarino's defense might have little effect and that “at least a half-dozen marketing agencies have said their clients would keep their ads off X while others had begun to counsel clients to also pull back.”
“There is no advertising value that would offset the reputational risk of going back on the platform,” Lou Paskalis, the CEO of AJL Advisory, a marketing consultancy, told The Times.
Where X Stands, According to Owner
Musk has denied that he is antisemitic and pointed out that “clear calls for extreme violence are against [X’s] terms of service and will result in suspension.”
When Sorkin asked Musk whether he felt anybody has leverage on him, Musk replied, “If we make bad products that people don’t want to use, the users will vote with their resources and use something else.”
He also said that his companies have many powerful eyes watching them. “SpaceX, Starlink, Tesla are overseen by cumulatively by … a few hundred regulators because we’re in 55 countries,” Musk said.