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Elon Musk Uses ‘F’ Word for Advertisers Boycotting Platform

In an annoucement to employees Musk today exclaimed "Daddy said something he shouldn't have again and there will be no Christmas bonuses this year. I'm sorry and I'll try to do better in the future. That is right after those nasty sponsors shove a expletive deleted where the sun doesn't shine".

On second thought, maybe Elon isn't cut out for owning a social media platform.

Elon Musk Uses ‘F’ Word for Advertisers Boycotting Platform

Billionaire addresses posts on X he says were misperceived as antisemitic

By Alexa Corse, WSJ

Updated Nov. 29, 2023 8:16 pm ET

Elon Musk lashed out at advertisers boycotting X during an interview at the New York Times’s DealBook Summit Wednesday. The billionaire said anyone trying to blackmail him with advertising money could “go f— yourself.” Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Elon Musk said advertisers pulling their ads from his social-media platform X can “go f—yourself.”

Musk’s platform in recent weeks has been grappling with the departure of several large advertisers in the wake of a post by the billionaire describing an antisemitic post as “the actual truth,” which elicited a new round of criticism that he promotes antisemitic views.

“If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money. Go f— yourself,” Musk said during an interview at the New York Times’s DealBook Summit on Wednesday.

He added later: “What this advertising boycott is going to do is, it’s going to kill the company.”

Earlier this month, Musk responded to a user’s post that espoused an antisemitic conspiracy theory with: “You have said the actual truth.” He then seemed to qualify his response in a later post. He also subsequently denied what he called “bogus media stories” claiming he was antisemitic.

Around the same time, left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters reported that X placed ads for certain companies next to posts supporting Nazis. IBM, in its statement earlier this month, cited the report for why it paused ad spending. Days later, X sued Media Matters, alleging the group was trying to drive away its advertisers. Media Matters stood by its reporting.

On Wednesday, Musk said he had tried to clarify afterward that he hadn’t meant anything antisemitic by his post. “Essentially, I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably, to those who are antisemitic,” Musk said. He added shortly after: “I’m quite sorry. That was not my intention.”

Musk said he had posted to make absolutely clear that he isn’t antisemitic. He said that, if anything, he’s “philo-semitic.”

Pressed about how advertisers are perceiving X, Musk used the F-word repeatedly, saying “Go f— yourself” twice in quick succession. “Is that clear? I hope it is,” he said.

“Hey Bob,” Musk added, which many observers interpreted as a response to Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, who spoke earlier at the New York Times event. Disney was among several large companies that earlier this month said they paused ads on X.

During his comments Wednesday, Iger addressed Disney’s decision to halt ads on Musk’s platform. He said that Disney felt like the association had become not a positive one, though he also said that Disney entities can use X as a platform to communicate.

After the charged exchange over Musk’s posts, the conversation turned toward what motivates Musk, his difficult childhood and his hopes for the future, including interplanetary civilization.

Asked about the recent turmoil at OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence company behind ChatGPT, where Chief Executive Sam Altman was briefly ousted by the board only to return to the CEO role days later, Musk said we still don’t know why it happened.

“Either it was a serious thing, and we should know what it is, or it was not a serious thing,” Musk said in reference to what may have caused the drama.

Asked about Altman, Musk replied by saying: “I have mixed feelings about Sam.”

Musk and Altman have a history. Musk helped co-found OpenAI along with Altman, but left after a dispute over its control and direction.

Musk was also asked if China has leverage over him because he does business in the country. He responded by saying that China is only about a quarter of Tesla’s market. “If that’s a problem for Tesla, it’s a problem for every car company,” he said.

The conversation also turned to U.S. politics. Musk, who has previously accused leading Democrats of attacking him, repeated Wednesday that the Biden administration had excluded Tesla from a White House summit on electric vehicles.

Musk said he hasn’t endorsed anyone for president for the 2024 U.S. election. He said that he didn’t think he would vote for Biden but also clarified that he wasn’t saying he supports former President Donald Trump.

—Joe Flint and Ryan Felton contributed to this article.

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