Elon Musk told advertisers who suspended ad buys on his social media platform X to “go f–k yourself” Wednesday, marking a heated development in the ongoing fallout from an antisemitic tweet he endorsed earlier this month.
The tech mogul and X owner also apologized for the antisemitic tweet during the New York Times DealBook summit, saying that he “handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably to those who are antisemitic. For that I’m quite sorry. That was not my intention.”
“I should in retrospect not have replied to that particular post,” he continued.
Musk added that his recent trip to Israel and meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not “an apology tour” for the post and other widely publicized instances of antisemitism at X.
On Nov. 15, Musk endorsed a verified account named @breakingbaht, which wrote, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” He responded to the post, writing, “You have said the actual truth.”
Addressing the incident Wednesday in conversation with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, Musk maintained that his agreement was largely taken out of context and “subsequently clarified in replies, but those clarifications were ignored by the media.”
The “actual truth” tweet came in conjunction with a Media Matters report that found X not adhering to agreed-upon brand safety measures for advertisers’ content. It found the social media platform placing its ads alongside content that “touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party,” which led to a suspension of advertisements en masse by companies including Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate, Apple and IBM.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to the controversy on Nov. 16, tweeting that “X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should stop across the board — I think that’s something we can and should all agree on.”
“When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong,” she wrote. “Full stop.”
The following day, Musk called advertisers the “greatest oppressors of your right to free speech.”
Asked again Wednesday about the recent advertising exodus at X, Musk responded that he didn’t care if they left the social media platform.
“If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money,” Musk said. “Go f–k yourself.”
“Is that clear?” the billionaire quipped. “That’s how I feel.”
Watch the interview (and the comments in question) below:
Elon Musk in response to advertisers like Disney pulling their ads on Twitter/X:— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 29, 2023
“Don’t advertise…go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear?“ pic.twitter.com/p5FRQlBcAj
Musk’s incendiary comments came after he filed a lawsuit against Media Matters on Nov. 20.
At Wednesday’s New York Times event, the embattled tech mogul wore a tag around his neck given to him by the families of one of the hostages held in Gaza, which Musk shared reads “Bring Them Home.”