Elon Musk says that advertisers fleeing X after his endorsement of an antisemitic post could “kill” the platform formerly known as Twitter. And he has a simple message for those companies, which include Disney, Apple, and IBM: “Go fuck yourself.”
Musk, speaking Wednesday night at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, said that advertisers with concerns about his conduct should stop spending on the platform, which has historically been dependent on ad revenue. “Don’t advertise,” Musk said in response to a question about X’s recent problems. “If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience. That’s how I feel, don’t advertise.”
Musk was referring to Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which is among the brands that paused advertising on X this month in response to Musk’s recent actions. Iger spoke at the New York Times event earlier in the day and declined to comment on whether his company would resume advertising on X. “By him taking the position he took, we felt that the association with that position, and Elon Musk and X, was not a positive one for us,” Iger said.
Musk probably needs Iger’s ad spending more than Disney needs X. The multinational entertainment and theme park giant is valued at nearly $170 billion. When Musk took over Twitter in 2022, he took the company private, masking its financials, but in October of this year, X employees were awarded stock grants at a valuation of $45 per share, valuing the company at $19 billion—less than half of what Musk paid for the platform a year ago.
X’s advertising crisis was set in motion on November 15 when user @breakingbaht posted that Jewish communities have been “pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” Musk publicly replied, “You have spoken the actual truth,” a response widely seen as lending support to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory popular among right-wing extremists.
Speaking Wednesday at the New York Times event, Musk said that post was “one of the most foolish if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform.” Earlier this week he traveled to Israel and met with Isaac Herzog, the country’s president, and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Speaking to Musk, Herzog said social media, “including some you lead, harbor so much of the age-old disease of antisemitism.”