Updated Nov 29, 2023 - Business

Elon Musk to advertisers boycotting X: "Go f**k yourself"

      1:13 NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: Elon Musk speaks onstage during The New York Times Dealbook Summit 2023 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 29, 2023 in New York City.

Elon Musk speaks onstage during The New York Times Dealbook Summit 2023 in New York City on Wednesday. Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times

Elon Musk pushed back on advertisers boycotting X over antisemitism and other hate speech on the platform formerly known as Twitter during the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday.

What he's saying: "If somebody's gonna try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f**k yourself." Musk said. "Don't advertise."

Context: After Musk published a post earlier in the month endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory, a slew of companies including Apple and Disney have paused advertising campaigns on the platform.

  • He's fought back on media coverage as CEO Linda Yaccarino tried to do damage control online.
  • Musk on Wednesday night apologized for the post, but was visibly angry about advertisers' latest actions.

Zoom in: During his onstage interview at the summit, Musk pushed back on the notion that there's a public perception that the billionaire visited Israel this week as part of an "apology tour."

  • "I have no problem being hated," Musk said, emphasizing that the trip was planned before his controversial post on X.
  • "What this advertising boycott is going to do [is] to kill [X]. The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail."

Of note: At one point, he also looked out at the audience and said "Hey Bob, if you're in the audience," presumably in reference to Disney CEO Bob Iger who spoke on stage earlier. "That's how I feel, don't advertise," he added.

The big picture: X has been losing advertisers month over month ever since Musk bought the company last year, Axios' Sara Fischer has written.

  • Investors also reevaluated one of Musk's other businesses, Tesla, as he previously seemed unapologetic.

What to watch: As for maintaining trust with the public as he tries to expand X and build out his other companies, including SpaceX, Musk said he won't "tap dance" to prove he's a good person.

Go deeper: What makes the X revolt different from other boycotts

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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