White House blasts Musk's 'hideous' anti-Semitic lie, advertisers pause on X

Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, UK, on November 2 2023. File photo.
Elon Musk pauses during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, UK, on November 2 2023. File photo.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS

The White House on Friday condemned Elon Musk's endorsement of what it called a "hideous" anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on X, while major US companies including Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery and NBCUniversal parent Comcast paused their advertisements on his social media site.

Musk on Wednesday agreed with a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people, saying the user who referenced the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory was speaking "the actual truth".

That conspiracy theory holds that Jewish people and leftists are engineering the ethnic and cultural replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants that will lead to a "white genocide".

The White House accused Musk of an "abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hate" that "runs against our core values as Americans".

"It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie ... one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said, referring to the October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel.

In addition to Disney, Warner Bros Discovery and Comcast, Lions Gate Entertainment and Paramount Global said on Friday they also were pausing their ads on X, formerly Twitter. Axios reported that Apple, the world's largest company by market value, was also pausing its ads.

IBM on Thursday halted its advertising on X after a report found its ads were placed next to content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Media Matters said it found that corporate advertisements by IBM, Apple, Oracle and Comcast's Xfinity were being placed alongside anti-Semitic content.

Advertisers have fled the site, formerly called Twitter, since Musk bought it in October 2022 and reduced content moderation, resulting in a sharp rise in hate speech on X, according to civil rights groups.

Representatives for Musk and X on Friday again declined to comment on his post.

"Many of the largest advertisers are the greatest oppressors of your right to free speech," Musk wrote on X on Friday while promoting a premier tier of the platform that removes ads from users' feeds.

"Premium+ also has no ads in your timeline," he said

"When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world - it's ugly and wrong. Full stop," X CEO Linda Yaccarino said on Thursday.

Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in recent years in the US and worldwide. Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas after last month's attack, anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by nearly 400% from the year-earlier period, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organisation that fights anti-Semitism.

Musk, chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla and founder of rocket company SpaceX, has blamed the Anti-Defamation League for the ongoing drop in advertisers, without offering any evidence.

X Corp will be filing a lawsuit against Media Matters and those who attacked social media platform X, Musk said on Saturday in a post on the social media platform.

"The split-second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company," Musk said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Reuters


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