Musk uses expletive to tell audience he doesn’t care about advertisers that fled X over hate speech

Billionaire Elon Musk has said that advertisers who halted spending on his social media platform X in response to anti-Semitic and other hateful material are engaging in “blackmail.”

By means ofThe Associated Press

November 29, 2023, 6:58 PM

NEW YORK — Billionaire Elon Musk said Wednesday that advertisers who halted spending on his social media platform

“Don’t advertise,” Musk said.

He appeared to specifically call out Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., and say, “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience…that’s how I feel.”

In an on-stage interview at the New York Times DealBook Summit, Musk also apologized for endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in response to a post on X that helped fuel an exodus of advertisers.

The comments come just two days after Musk visited Israel, where he toured a kibbutz under attack by Hamas militants and held talks with top leaders.

Musk has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, and others of tolerating anti-Semitic posts on the platform since purchasing it last year. The content on X, formerly Twitter, has received increased attention since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October.

A slew of major brands, including Disney and IBM, stopped advertising on the platform this month after a report from liberal advocacy group Media Matters said their ads appeared alongside pro-Nazi content and white nationalist messages.

X has since sued Media Matters, saying the Washington-based nonprofit created the report to “drive advertisers off the platform and destroy X Corp.”