Elon Musk Tells Fleeing Advertisers To Go F*** Themselves

Elon Musk has launched a profane attack against the advertisers who have fled the platform, after their ads appeared alongside extremist content.

Musk’s remarks, made on Wednesday in an on-stage interview at The New York Times DealBook Summit, overshadowed Musk making a public apology for recently endorsing an anti-Semetic conspiracy theory.

Musk’s apology came after he visited Israel earlier this week, and toured the kibbutz called Kfar Azza – which had attacked by Hamas on 7 October – alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Image credit: SpaceX

Anti-Semetic conspiracy theory

During the visit, Musk also met with Israeli president Isaac Herzog, as well as with Israelis whose relatives were kidnapped by Hamas during the terrorist attack.

Musk and Israel also agreed on the use of his Starlink satellite communication service in Gaza by emergency and aid services, but only with the approval by the Israeli government.

Musk has been mired in controversy after he had endorsed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. The account @breakingbaht suggested that anti-Semitism was carried out by minorities and claimed the Jews were to blame.

That “great replacement” conspiracy theory contends that Jewish people and the left are engineering an ethnic and cultural replacement of the white population with non-white immigrants.

Musk replied: “You have said the actual truth.”

That drew a strong rebuke from the White House, which condemned Elon Musk’s endorsement of what it called a “hideous” anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X.

The White House then announced it was creating multiple official accounts on Twitter rival platform, Threads.

On Wednesday Musk apologised for endorsing this conspiracy theory, admitting it was probably the dumbest post he had ever made.

“I’m sorry for that tweet… it might be literally the worst and dumbest post that I’ve ever done,” Musk said on Wednesday.

Go f***k yourself

But Musk’s rare public apology for one of his gaffes, was overshadowed the choice language he used when questioned about the advertising boycott, which some reports suggest could cost Twitter around $75m in lost revenues.

X and its CEO Linda Yaccarino are contending with an advertising exodus, after Media Matters for America recently found of adverts from IBM, Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) appearing alongside extremist content that praised Adolf Hitler.

The Media Matters report included screenshots showing advertisements from major advertisers appearing alongside accounts praising Nazism and denying the Holocaust.

In response a number of advertisers, including IBM, Apple and Disney, suspended advertising on the platform.

After the advertising pull out, Elon Musk responded by filing a “thermonuclear” lawsuit against Media Matters, claiming it had filed an “intentionally deceptive report”.

Days before this, Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales had warned that X was “overrun by trolls and lunatics”, and that people are fleeing the platform. This week the major of Paris announced she was quitting X, calling it a “gigantic global sewer.

But when Musk was questioned about the advertising boycott, he lashed out and seemed to single out the boss of Disney Bob Iger.

“I don’t want them to advertise,” Musk responded. “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising or money go [expletive] yourself”.

Musk then doubled down in front of the shocked audience.

“Go. [Expletive]. Yourself,” he slowly reiterated. “Is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel.”

He seemed to refer to Disney chief executive Bob Iger, who had spoken at the summit earlier in the day.

Killing X

Musk also added that advertisers could kill X, as it was known that advertising made up about 90 percent of Twitter revenue (before Musk’s takeover), and successive controversies have taken a toll on that revenue stream.

Elon Musk has previously admitted a massive decline in advertising on X, and in the summer Musk tweeted that the social media platform has lost about 50 percent of its ad revenues since he took over the company in October 2022.

“What this advertising boycott is going to do is it’s going to kill the company,” Musk said on Wednesday.

“The whole world will know those advertisers killed the company, and we will document it in great detail,” he added.

Musk also seemed to rule out using his vast fortune to keep X going, if the advertising revenue dries up completely.

“If the company fails because of advertiser boycott, it will fail because of an advertiser boycott,” Musk said. “And that will be what bankrupt the company and that’s what everybody on earth will know. Let the chips fall where they may.”

In the room with Musk when he made the comments was Linda Yaccarino, X’s chief executive, who has been charged with trying to bring back advertisers to the platform.

She reposted what she called the “candid” interview, which can be seen here.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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