Addressing attendees at the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York, Elon Musk, the proprietor of the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), discussed the departure of advertisers from the platform due to antisemitic posts he had shared.
Musk dismissed the notion of being influenced by advertising, stating, “If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f— yourself. Go. F—. Yourself. Is that clear?” Notably, Musk directed his remarks towards Disney CEO Bob Iger, acknowledging his presence with a casual “Hi Bob!”
Musk went on to suggest that his supporters might reciprocate by boycotting these advertisers. He asserted, “The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail.” Musk, unapologetic about potential criticism, expressed, “I have no problem being hated. Hate away.”
“I hope they stop. Don’t advertise,” Musk told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin.
During the summer, the loading time for Times links on X was extended — when asked by Sorkin if this was an intentional move to penalize the Times, Musk didn’t provide a direct response. Instead, he remarked, “Free speech is not exactly free. It costs a little bit,” while pointing out that the Times was not a paying X user.
Recent weeks have seen Musk endorsing content described by the White House as “antisemitic and racist hate” on X, the social media platform he oversees as Chief Technology Officer. Reflecting on this, Musk acknowledged, “one of the most foolish if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform” and offered an apology, stating, “I’m sorry for that tweet or post.”
Musk’s provocative posts on X prompted major advertisers, including Disney, Apple, and others, to suspend campaigns, leading influential figures like Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to abandon the platform.
Despite these developments, Musk, who also serves as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, denied accusations of antisemitism, affirming that on X, “Clear calls for extreme violence are against our terms of service and will result in suspension.”
During a visit to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Musk extended an offer to assist in the “deradicalization” and “rebuilding” of Gaza. He clarified that his visit was unrelated to an “apology tour” and had been planned prior to his controversial tweets.
Earlier in the day, the UAW initiated campaigns targeting Tesla and 12 other automakers in the U.S. When asked about the impact on his electric vehicle business, Musk expressed negative views about unions, describing them as fostering a “lords and peasants” dynamic. He added, “If Tesla gets unionized, it will be because we deserve it and we failed in some way.”
Addressing the leverage question, Musk asserted that customer choices and regulatory oversight hold sway over his companies. He acknowledged compliance with most regulations but claimed the occasional divergence when he disagreed with a regulation.
Regarding Tesla’s presence in China and its dependence on Chinese consumers, Musk emphasized adherence to local laws and questioned if there was more the platform could do.
Commenting on OpenAI and its recent boardroom challenges, Musk admitted having “mixed feelings” about CEO Sam Altman, expressing concerns about the concentration of power. Musk, who left OpenAI’s board in 2018, emphasized his worries about AI’s potential harm to humanity, revealing, “I’m having trouble sleeping at night” due to these concerns.
Information for this story was found via CNBC and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.