Elon Musk apologizes for endorsing anti-semitic tweet, but takes hardline stance on advertiser boycott

Credit: Andrew Sorkin/X

During his fiery and now controversial interview with journalist Andrew Sorkin at The New York Times’ annual DealBook Summit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk apologized for a tweet that has triggered a firestorm of antisemitism allegations online. He also took a hardline stance against advertisers who are allegedly “blackmailing” him for advertising revenue on X. 

Musk, who is no stranger to controversy, had endorsed a post on X that stated that Jewish communities have been pushing out “hatred against whites.” Musk’s response to the tweet read, “You have said the actual truth,” a comment that triggered an exodus of advertisers from X. During his interview with the NYT, Musk apologized for the post, noting that it was probably the “worst” and dumbest” that he’s posted to date

“I’m sorry for that post. It was foolish of me. Of my 30,000 posts, it might literally be the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done. I think over time it’ll be obvious that I’m far from anti-semitic,” Musk said. He also admitted that the post essentially handed a “loaded gun” to both antisemitic people and his detractors.

The fact that Musk dubbed the post his worst to date says a lot, especially considering that he ended up being sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over his “funding secured” tweet in 2018, and he practically got half the globe angry after he dubbed a caver who played a part in the rescue of Thai boys who were stuck in a cave in 2018 a “pedo guy” on Twitter.

Needless to say, Musk has posted a number of regrettable posts on X over the years, so the fact that he apologized and dubbed his post about Jewish communities as his “dumbest” speaks volumes. That being said, Musk also shared some fiery words about advertisers that are allegedly “blackmailing” X. In a comment that evidently stunned Sorkin, Musk stated that advertisers who are boycotting X over his alleged antisemitism should not come back. 

“If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money? Go f**k yourself. Go. F**k. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey, Bob, if you’re in the audience,” Musk said, seemingly calling out Disney CEO Bob Iger. Disney is among the companies that have pulled their advertising on X following Musk’s controversial posts. 

While Musk’s comments have triggered yet another wave of controversy surrounding X, the social media platform’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, who has been dubbed by critics from the media as a “pain sponge” of sorts, provided some level-headed commentary on the Tesla CEO’s comments. 

“Today, Elon Musk gave a wide-ranging and candid interview at DealBook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation, and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions. 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 wrote in a post on X. 

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Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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