Tech billionaire Elon Musk told the companies pulling advertisements from X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to “go f— yourself” following the companies’ decision to nix ads from the platform after Musk appeared to endorse an antisemitic remark earlier this week.
Asked Wednesday in an interview at The New York Times Dealbook Summit if he does not want the companies to advertise, Musk responded, “Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f— yourself.”
Musk was responding to Disney CEO Bob Iger’s previous comments during the summit where he explained the company’s decision to slash advertisements from X.
“Go f— yourself, is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience. That’s how I feel, don’t advertise,” Musk continued.
The comment prompted some laughs from the audience.
Musk came under fire earlier this month after he appeared to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The post sparked widespread criticism of the X owner, who later said that claims he is antisemitic “couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
Days later, liberal watchdog Media Matters for America released a report that said it found ads for companies including Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity and IBM placed next to posts celebrating Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party on the platform. Several companies, including Disney and Apple, halted their ad spending in the wake of the report.
Musk is suing Media Matters in response, calling the report a “fraudulent attack.”
Since purchasing X last year, Musk made several controversial changes that included easing some of its content moderation policies, which some argue has quickly increased the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
Musk’s tensions with advertisers were sparked a year ago when a series of the platform’s top advertisers halted their activity just weeks after he purchased it.
Musk, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Israel on Monday where they toured a kibbutz attacked during the militant group Hamas’s surprise incursion into southern Israel on Oct. 7.
The trip sparked criticism from some in the wake of Musk’s controversial post, including comments from Esther Solomon, editor in chief of the Israeli news outlet Haaretz, who called Musk a “blatant antisemite and publisher of antisemitism.
Since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out last month, thousands from both sides of the conflict have died while an uptick in antisemitic incidents has been reported in multiple parts of the U.S. and in Europe.