During an interview at the DealBook conference, Elon Musk addressed the recent controversy surrounding his antisemitic posts on X, a platform he owns, and expressed defiance towards advertisers considering a boycott. Musk, seemingly alternating between apologetic and defiant tones, acknowledged mistakes while simultaneously pushing advertisers away.
In response to questions about the advertiser boycott and whether X can survive it, Musk told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin, “I hope they stop. Don’t advertise. If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f* yourself. Go f* yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.” He even singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who earlier expressed his reluctance to be associated with Musk, saying, “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience.”
Musk admitted that if advertisers don’t return, the advertising boycott could lead to the demise of the company. However, he spoke of it almost fatalistically, portraying X as a martyr and advertisers as the enemy. “That is what everybody on Earth will know,” he said. “We’ll be gone, and it’ll be gone because of an advertiser boycott.”
This comes after Musk’s attempt to salvage the situation following his endorsement of an antisemitic post, which resulted in over 100 brands halting their ads on X. The platform faces the potential loss of $75 million by the end of the year.
Musk expressed regret for his previous statements and blamed media outlets for not covering his clarifications. However, he emphasized that he wasn’t on an “apology tour” and dismissed concerns about the impact on X, stating that he doesn’t mind being an object of contempt.
The interview was characterized by Musk’s stream of consciousness responses and a lack of concern for the material impact on X. Despite attempts to clarify his position, Musk’s statements appeared to further the antisemitic conspiracy theory he initially promoted, blaming “people in the Jewish community” for supporting unspecified activist groups.