Billionaire Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, has given Apple, Disney and other advertisers the middle finger over an Ad boycott that may lead to a potential $75 million in revenue for the company.
Musk’s latest outburst comes amidst a windfall with advertisers after major players such as Disney, IBM, and Apple hit the pause button on advertising following Musk’s assertion that a dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory was the “absolute truth.”
As the company may lose up to $75 million in revenue this quarter, Musk served a clear message to the advertisers who have pulled back.
Speaking on stage Wednesday at The New York Times Dealbook summit, he said
- “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Go F**k yourself,” Musk said onstage.
- He then called out Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, whose company was one of the first big brands to boycott X. “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience,” Musk said, waving his hand.
Musk made the comments in an interview with the Time’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, in which the owner of the platform unleashed a stream of invective and defiance in response to questions about the advertising situation and his role in it.
- “Let the chips fall where they may,” Musk declared at one point, after urging any marketers who don’t like what he has to stop advertising on X. “Don’t advertise,” he repeatedly taunted.
In the audience was also X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has been the proverbial pain sponge for the company.
While Musk’s disruptive approach wreaks havoc and drives advertisers away like a bull in a China shop, Yaccarino has been left to pick up the pieces.
With her two decades of experience in advertising (with many at NBCUniversal, an advertiser that also paused spending on X), the responsibility of wooing back advertisers seemingly falls on her shoulders.
The 52-year-old Musk went on to say that the latest snob from advertisers would eventually kill the company.
- “What this advertising boycott is going to do is it’s going to kill the company,” Musk said. “The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we’ll document it in great detail.”
Elon Musk addressed the recent controversy surrounding X Corp’s antisemitic content during an appearance, following the platform’s lawsuit against Media Matters for its report on the issue.
Musk dismissed the report as “fraudulent,” while Yaccarino, X’s CEO, called it a “contrived experience.” Despite Musk’s defensive stance, advertisers have expressed dissatisfaction.
In response to widespread criticism, Musk embarked on an unofficial “apology tour” to Israel, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Musk denied it was an apology tour but acknowledged unintended consequences, admitting,
“Essentially, I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me.” He expressed regret for endorsing antisemitic remarks on X. ”
The controversy arose when Musk engaged with an X user making anti-Semitic remarks, which he later endorsed as “the actual truth.” Musk, who refuted accusations of antisemitism, admitted the post was “foolish” and expressed regret.