18th November 2023 – (Washington) The White House censured Elon Musk’s support of what it labelled a “grossly offensive” antisemitic conspiracy theory propagated on X, Musk’s social media platform. This criticism coincided with substantial U.S. corporations, including Walt Disney Co, Warner Bros Discovery, and Comcast, parent company of NBCUniversal, suspending their advertisements on the platform.
Musk, on Wednesday, lent credence to a post on X that falsely insinuated Jewish people were fuelling animosity against white individuals. Musk lauded the user who cited the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory as speaking the “actual truth”. This theory fallaciously alleges that Jewish individuals and left-wing activists are orchestrating the ethnic and cultural substitution of white populations with non-white immigrants, leading to a so-called “white genocide.”
The White House denounced Musk’s “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate,” stating it was contrary to America’s core values. “It is unacceptable to repeat such a repugnant lie… especially one month on from the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates, referencing the Hamas attack on Israel on 7th October.
Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, and Comcast were not the only companies to suspend advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter. Lions Gate Entertainment, Paramount Global, and Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, also paused their ads. IBM discontinued its advertising on X after discovering its ads were being displayed alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform in October 2022 and the subsequent reduction in content moderation has reportedly led to a surge in hate speech on X, prompting an exodus of advertisers. Neither Musk nor representatives for X have commented on the controversial post.
Musk, however, did make a statement on X on Friday, criticising large advertisers as being the “greatest oppressors of your right to free speech,” while promoting an ad-free premium version of the platform. Linda Yaccarino, X CEO, defended the platform’s commitment to combating antisemitism and discrimination, stating it had no place in the world.
Antisemitism has seen a disturbing surge in the United States and globally in recent years. Following the escalation of conflict between Israel and Hamas, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. surged by almost 400% from the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organisation committed to combating antisemitism.