Elon Musk Denies Antisemitism Accusations Amid Controversy
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has denied allegations of antisemitism after facing backlash for endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. Several major corporations have withdrawn their advertising support from Musk’s platform, X, due to the presence of pro-Nazi content.
Last week, Musk sparked outrage on social media, with many accusing him of promoting antisemitism. In response to the accusations, Musk took to X on Sunday to defend himself, stating that the claims were “nothing but false”. He expressed his desire for a prosperous and inclusive future for all of humanity.
The controversy began when a user on X propagated the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, blaming Jewish communities for promoting hatred against white people. Musk responded to the post, affirming that the user had spoken the “actual truth”.
The initial post was in response to a campaign video by the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism, which depicted a father confronting his son over his online hate speech. Musk’s endorsement received support from white nationalist Nick Fuentes but was met with widespread backlash from others, including CNN’s Jake Tapper and the White House.
The situation escalated when major companies such as Disney, Apple, and IBM announced their decision to pull advertising from X due to the placement of their ads alongside pro-Nazi posts. Media Matters, a left-leaning non-profit, reported that ads from IBM, Apple, Oracle, and Bravo were displayed next to pro-Hitler and antisemitic content. The exact cause of this placement remains unclear, but it occurred after Musk relaxed moderation policies and reduced safety staff following a $44 billion acquisition.
X has stated that the placement of the ads next to antisemitic accounts was unintentional, and these accounts have since been demonetized, meaning advertising can no longer run on their profiles. In response to the advertising boycott, Musk threatened to file a lawsuit against Media Matters and those involved in what he called a “fraudulent attack” on his company.
This controversy has put X CEO Linda Yaccarino and other staff members in a difficult position as they attempt to address the fallout from Musk’s actions. Clients have raised concerns about Musk’s remarks and the appearance of their ads next to antisemitic content.
This is not the first time Musk has faced accusations of promoting antisemitism. Following the Hamas terror attack on Israel in October, he deleted a post amplifying an account accused of antisemitism and spreading unreliable information about the attack. Last year, the American Jewish Committee called on Musk to apologize for a controversial post that compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler.
Musk has previously claimed to be “pro free speech” but against any form of antisemitism. In September, he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League after they accused him of antisemitism.