Musk takes a jibe at advertisers trying to 'blackmail' him

Must says he contributed more to the environment through electric vehicles than anyone else in the world
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at an event in Hawthorne, California April 30, 2015. — Reuters
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at an event in Hawthorne, California April 30, 2015. — Reuters

Speaking at the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York, Elon Musk, the owner of social media site X (formerly Twitter), scoffed at advertisers who left the platform over antisemitic posts he amplified there.

The Tesla CEO strongly objected to being labelled as antisemitic and emphasised that advertisers who departed X (formerly Twitter) should not think they can manipulate or threaten him.

He continued with a series of vulgar comments, saying, "If somebody's gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself."

Read more: Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup, raises $43m more in funds

Musk apologised multiple times for his tweet on November 15, where he endorsed an anti-Jewish statement, following which he faced severe criticism for supporting a user's false assertion that Jewish individuals were fostering animosity against white people.

In his post, Musk endorsed the user's reference to the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, asserting that the user was conveying "the actual truth."

A day earlier, he said he had "handed a loaded gun" to both detractors and antisemitic people, describing his post as possibly the worst he had made during a history of messages that included many "foolish" ones.

Referring to Robert Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney (DIS.N), which withdrew its ads from the platform, he added, "Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey, Bob, if you're in the audience."

Iger spoke earlier at the event and said that Disney felt the association with X following Musk's move "was not a positive one for us". A spokesperson from Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lou Paskalis, founder of marketing consultancy AJL Advisory and former head of global media at Bank of America, commented that Musk's profanity-laden remarks directed at advertisers mark the "closing chapter" for brands engaging with X. " They're not going to forget that," Paskalis added.

Elon Musk suggested that those against his opinions should assess the products produced by his company based on their quality. Specifically highlighting Tesla's electric cars and SpaceX rockets as examples, he claimed that he has contributed more to the environment through Tesla's substantial sales of electric vehicles than anyone else in the world.

"It would be fair to say, therefore, as a leader of the company, I've done more for the environment than everyone -- any single human on Earth," he remarked.