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With a growing advertiser-led backlash threatening the financial foundations of his X social media platform, Elon Musk appears to be alternating between fits of rage over the spiraling controversy and episodes of contrition. After his public tour of Israel over the past few days to smooth over ruffled feathers, Elon Musk might well win forgiveness for his impromptu actions that have been deemed to be anti-Semitic, but will we get more circumspection from the world’s richest person going forward?
Watch my conversation with @ElonMusk: https://t.co/YedkELVhFn
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) November 29, 2023
At the time of writing, Elon Musk is still speaking at the NYT DealBook Summit 2023. He has termed the advertisers’ coordinated boycott of X an attack on his right to free speech and an attempt to “silence” his voice.
Elon’s view is that advertisers are trying to silence his speech.
He tells advertisers who are trying to silence his speech by pausing advertising to “Go F*** themself”
— X News Daily (@xDaily) November 29, 2023
In a rather striking development, Elon Musk used an expletive to describe the actions of the boycotting advertisers. He also conceded that his endorsement of the deemed anti-Semitic post was akin to handing a “loaded gun to people who hate me.”
As a refresher, Elon Musk recently waded into the controversy surrounding the Gaza war by responding in the affirmative to an X post that accused the Jewish communities of pushing “dialectical hatred” against the whites.
In order to dampen the reaction to his endorsement of the controversial post, Elon Musk has sought to clarify that he is against racism of any kind. The owner of X has also banned certain terms and their euphemisms that supposedly imply the genocide of the Jewish people, for which he has been taken to task by the pro-Palestinian groups who assert that the banned slogans merely represent the true aspirations of the Palestinians and purportedly have no genocidal associations whatsoever.
Meanwhile, a growing number of big-ticket advertisers, including Apple, Disney, Comcast, IBM, etc. have halted their advertisements on the X platform after Media Matters showed that some anti-Semitic content was found displayed adjacent to IBM’s adverts on X. Elon Musk responded by claiming that Media Matters repeatedly refreshed the X timeline to achieve that atypical scenario and has lodged a lawsuit against the company.
Do note that this is Elon Musk’s strongest reaction yet to the spiraling situation. Just a few days back, he termed the boycotting advertisers “oppressors” of freedom of speech.
Of course, X also faced an advertiser-led boycott earlier this year when 37 of the top 100 advertisers of the pre-Musk era refused to spend a single dime on the social media platform in the first quarter of 2023, and another 24 advertisers in this list curtailed their ad spend on the platform by around 80 percent. However, most of these advertisers had resumed their activity on X by Q2.