Elon Musk’s Twitter has undergone a significant transformation in the past year. Previously a platform where journalists connected and conversed with sources, it has now become a space rife with conspiracy theories and alt-right content, many of which are demonstrably false and have anti-Semitic undertones. Now, Musk himself is vocally supporting these theories.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
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In response to a tweet earlier this week, Musk endorsed a statement made by a paid Twitter user regarding “Jew…hatred of whites” and “a mob of minorities who support flooding into their country.” The Tesla CEO condensed his response from 14 words to six: “You have said absolutely the truth.”
Following this, Musk faced criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization that is pursuing legal action against Twitter over allegations of increased hate speech in recent months. NBC News reported that supporters of anti-Semitic views celebrated Musk’s tweet and affirmed their agreement with him on the “Jewish Question”, a term utilized by anti-Semites.
According to AJ Bauer, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Alabama who researches right-wing movements and media, these reactions represent “old-time anti-Semitism with new language.”
However, the response from the general public has been markedly less favorable. Bloomberg analyzed the financial implications of Musk’s controversial statements and found significant fallout – Tesla investors are unsettled and Twitter advertisers are reallocating their ad budgets elsewhere.
Christine Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, expressed surprise at Musk’s recent post. The social-impact fund held about $282,200 of Tesla stock as of midyear and has been actively pressuring the company for several years, including through a shareholder resolution.
Hull wrote in an email on Thursday that “The impact of the CEO’s erratic, racist and anti-Semitic speech directly impacts Tesla’s brand and bottom line in significant ways.” She suggested that Tesla’s board may need to take measures such as censure, demotion, reappointment, suspension or termination in response to Musk’s actions.
The European Commission instructed its staff to discontinue advertising on X due to a “worrying increase in disinformation and hate speech,” although it did not explicitly reference Musk’s posts. This directive was initially reported by Politico.
Media Matters released a report alleging that IBM, Apple Inc., Oracle Corp., and Comcast Corp. had advertisements running on X next to pro-Nazi content. An IBM spokesperson stated, “IBM has a zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this completely unacceptable situation.”
Musk’s recent responses on Twitter appear to revolve around the Media Matters revelations that prompted IBM to withdraw its advertising expenditure. He referred to the outlet as an “evil organization” and repeatedly asserted that all media, seemingly every outlet that disagrees with his worldview, is corrupt and disseminates falsehoods.
Musk has been shedding his façade of empathy for quite some time. He has regularly voiced support for LGBTQ individuals while frequently attacking transgender individuals whenever the opportunity arises. He has described the acceptance of refugees as “European suicide” and indicated backing for the anti-Semitic “BanTheADL” movement. This has earned him the admiration of white supremacists, despite the fact that the majority of people fail to comprehend his true nature.