In a recent interview on Wednesday, Elon Musk, the billionaire and CEO of Tesla, delivered a forceful response to advertisers, telling them to “go f*ck yourself,” after they departed from his social media platform, X (Twitter), expressing concerns about antisemitic content. Musk’s fiery remarks, reported by Reuters, followed his initial expression of regret during a New York Times DealBook Summit interview for endorsing an anti-Jewish post on X in a tweet on November 15.
Musk faced significant backlash for supporting a user’s false claim on November 15, where the user asserted that Jewish people were fueling animosity against white individuals, referencing the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. Acknowledging that his post was possibly the worst he had made, Musk admitted to a history of several “foolish” messages.
In response to accusations of antisemitism, Musk directly confronted advertisers who had left X, rejecting the notion that they could blackmail him and using explicit language to express his stance. He also made reference to Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, one of the companies that suspended ads on X.
The “Great Replacement” theory suggests that Jewish people and leftists are orchestrating the replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants, leading to a “white genocide.”
The White House condemned Musk’s post, denouncing it as an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate.” In the wake of the backlash, major U.S. companies, including Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, and NBCUniversal parent Comcast, suspended their ads on X. Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, played a role in this advertiser exodus, citing ads appearing next to posts supporting Nazism. X responded with a defamation lawsuit against Media Matters.
Amid the controversy, Musk visited Israel, touring the site of Hamas’ assault on October 7. He engaged in a live-streamed conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on X, where Musk reiterated his opposition to antisemitism and hate speech on X.
During the discussion, Netanyahu urged Musk to find a balance between safeguarding online free speech and combating hate speech. Musk clarified that his trip to Israel had been planned independently of the controversy surrounding his message on X. The two leaders had previously met at Tesla’s headquarters in California in September to discuss advanced artificial intelligence.