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Business News/ Companies / People/  Disney joins Apple, IBM in pulling ads from Elon Musk's X over antisemitism controversy

Disney joins Apple, IBM in pulling ads from Elon Musk's X over antisemitism controversy

Musk's increasing engagement with and endorsement of extremist beliefs has led to uncertainties about X's future profitability, as well as criticism of his handling of the situation.

File Image of X owner Elon Musk (Photographer: Tolga Akmen/EPA/Bloomberg)Premium
File Image of X owner Elon Musk (Photographer: Tolga Akmen/EPA/Bloomberg)

Disney has become the latest brand to pull out advertisements from Elon Musk's social media platform X, formerly Twitter, in response to the billionaire's public endorsement of antisemitic talk points, as per a CNN report. Musk's controversial statements came at a time when Islamaphobia and antisemitism are on the rise in the US amid the Israel-Gaza war.

This is the newest blow for Musk after Apple, Comcast, IBM, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Paramount, and Warner Bros. Discovery also withdrew their advertising from the site.

In the case of IBM, the step came on November 16 after the brand's imagery made an appearance alongside pro-Nazi content on the site. IBM explicitly condemned the situation, expressing zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination. IBM is not the only company, following prior instances involving brands such as the NCTA and Gilead Sciences, both had also halted ads on X.

Also Read: Elon Musk backs anti-Semitism tweet, says, ‘You have said the actual truth’

Backlash against Musk

The mass exodus comes amid Musk's increasing engagement with and endorsement of extremist beliefs, the report said adding there are now uncertainties about X's future profitability. Notably, Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino had earlier anticipated profits by next year.

Both Musk and the company have issued statements after the fallout. While Yaccarino reaffirmed the platform's efforts against antisemitism and discrimination; Musk stated a strict policy against advocating genocide on the platform.

Yaccarino wrote: “X has been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s absolutely no place for it anywhere in the world."

“At the risk of stating the obvious, anyone advocating the genocide of *any* group will be suspended from this platform," Musk wrote on X on November 17 evening.

A spokesperson for X also told CNN the company has pledged to bar pro-Nazi accounts from monetisation.

Reactions and Allegations

Criticism extends to Musk's handling of the situation. Wealth-management firm Gerber Kawasaki Inc.'s co-founder and CEO, Ross Gerber, expressed concern over Musk's actions, stating they are detrimental and damaging to the brand, as per a Bloomberg report.

Musk, the world's wealthiest individual, had earlier accused the Anti-Defamation League, the non-profit that works to fight antisemitism of primarily causing a 60 percent decrease in US ad revenue at X, without providing evidence.

Earlier in September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also urged Musk to "strike a balance" between protecting free expression and fighting hate speech after weeks of controversy over antisemitic content on Musk's social media platform X.

The ongoing controversy and advertiser withdrawal signal a challenging period for X, raising questions about its stance against hate speech and its future direction.


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Published: 18 Nov 2023, 08:14 AM IST
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