After stunning the business world by telling any marketer pausing their advertising on X (formerly Twitter) over antisemitic content to “go f–k yourself,” Elon Musk closed the week by taking more swings.
Posting on the platform he bought last fall for $44 billion, the Tesla CEO shared a self-pitying meme showing a dejected-looking robot. “Here I am, the richest man in the world, philosemite, climate crusader, and I still get s–t from idiots.” (See the post below.) The word “philosemite” does not appear in official dictionaries, but it has been credibly defined as a person who has respect and admiration for the Jewish people and Jewish history.
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In another message (also below), Musk pasted in a bar chart from data firm The Generation Lab’s recent study of social media. The survey examined the relationship between the usage of different social media platforms and the amount of anti-Israel and antisemitic material they contain. The chart’s three bars show TikTok and Instagram as having significantly more objectionable material than X/Twitter. “So then why is Disney boycotting X, yet spending millions on other platforms?” Musk wondered. His post did not include a link to the full study or additional information.
Disney, along with other blue-chip advertisers and media companies including Apple, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery, paused ads on X/Twitter two weeks ago after Musk personally endorsed an antisemitic post. In a reply to the post, which cited the long-debunked conspiracy theory about the “Great Replacement,” Musk said the author was speaking “the actual truth,” a comment he later called a mistake. The non-profit firm Media Matters has also documented what it says is a more widespread issue on X in terms of ad messages appearing next to hateful or antisemitic posts. Musk has filed suit against Media Matters over the claims and has repeatedly maintained he is not an antisemite.
Appearing shortly before Musk onstage at Wednesday’s New York Times DealBook Summit, Disney CEO Bob Iger described the company’s rationale for suspending ads. “Elon is larger than life in many respects, and that his name is very much tied to the companies he either founded or he owns, whether it’s Tesla or SpaceX, or now X,” Iger said. “And by him taking the position that he took in quite a public manner, we just felt that the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us. And we decided we would pull our advertising.”
The ad pause, in the case of Disney and most of the other marketers now on the sidelines, does not extend to promotional messages sent on corporate accounts. That fact led many observers to note that Musk’s use of the term “boycott” wasn’t entirely apt.
After pointedly delivering his “f-word” message to advertisers, Musk added, “Hi, Bob,” in a clear reference to Iger. He went on to say that the “advertising boycott” is going to “kill the company. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company.”
So then why is Disney boycotting 𝕏, yet spending millions on other platforms? pic.twitter.com/vIX5hhc8RS
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 1, 2023
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