The boss of X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk, had very harsh words for advertisers who chose to suspend their advertisements on "Screw you. Is that clear?" he said on Wednesday November 29. Immediately after this sentence, the ebullient billionaire pretended to greet Disney CEO (“Hi Bob!”) Bob Iger, whose group is among the companies affected and who had been interviewed earlier at the same event in New York . “I hope they will stop” buying promotional space on the social network, he proclaimed. “Don’t advertise,” he told them.
Several large American companies, including Apple, the cable operator Comcast and Disney, have suspended the broadcast of their advertisements on X after Elon Musk relayed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the site. They joined other advertisers, who had already deserted the platform after the media observatory Media Matters noted that advertisements for prominent brands had appeared on a neo-Nazi account.
“I'm sorry for this message,” said Elon Musk, regarding his publication accused of anti-Semitism, during a public interview as part of the DealBook Summit event, organized by the New York Times. “It was stupid of me,” he continued. “Among the 30,000 (posts published by the contractor), this is perhaps the worst and stupidest I have ever posted.” In this message, Elon Musk responded to a tweet claiming that Jewish people encouraged “hatred against white people”: “You told the exact truth,” he wrote.
“What will happen is that this boycott will kill the company,” warned Elon Musk. “And the whole world will know that these advertisers killed the business.” Almost entirely dependent on advertising, even though it recently launched paid plans, X was already in bad shape even before this new controversy. According to the firm Guideline, revenues from advertisers had already fallen by 54% between September 2022 and August 2023. On Wednesday, Elon Musk suggested that he would not put his hand in his pocket to prevent the group, which he bought back in October 2022, from going under. “If the company fails because of an advertiser boycott, it will go bankrupt,” he insisted.