In Elon Musk’s ongoing battle with X advertisers, he decided that now he doesn’t need them at all. At the New York Times DealBook Summit yesterday (Nov. 29), Musk was asked by the Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin to respond to major advertisers leaving X over his endorsement of an antisemitic post earlier this month. He responds to them, “Go f*ck yourself.”
One of the speakers at the summit was Disney CEO Bob Iger, who went on before Musk. Disney is one of the companies that suspended advertising on X following a recent report by industry watchdog Media Matters claiming that their ads were placed alongside hateful content like pro-Nazi X posts. “We know that Elon is larger than life in many respects and that his name is very much connected to the companies he founded or owns,” Iger said. “By him taking the position he took in a public manner, we felt that the association was not necessarily a positive one for us.”
Musk addressed Iger in his interview directly. “Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f*ck yourself,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO told Sorkin in the expletive-laden interview. “Go f*ck yourself, is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience. That’s how I feel, don’t advertise.”
Musk has continued to blame others for X’s struggle to bring in advertisers, a main revenue stream. He reiterated that sentiment after those comments to Iger and advertisers. “What this advertising boycott is gonna do…It’s gonna kill the company,” Musk said. “The whole world will know that advertisers killed the company and will document it in great detail.”
Once again, X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who’s tasked to turn around X’s advertising business, followed up on her boss’s comments with cognitive dissonance. In a post on X yesterday, she said, “And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street—and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work—Thank You.”
Yaccarino also emphasized in her post that Musk apologized for cosigning the antisemitic post earlier this month. Early in his interview with Sorkin, Musk said, “It was foolish of me. It might be the worst and dumbest post that I’ve ever done.” He maintained that he is not antisemitic, instead calling himself “philosemitic,” which describes people who have an interest in Jewish culture.
Below is Musk’s full interview with Sorkin.
— Andrew Ross Sorkin (@andrewrsorkin) November 29, 2023