Musk threatens to file ‘thermonuclear lawsuit’ after advertisers cut ties with X

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Musk threatens to file ‘thermonuclear lawsuit’ after advertisers cut ties with X

IBM and The European Commission among those to pull ads from the site after media watchdog revealed they were being placed alongside antisemitic content

Elon Musk looks at a business summit at the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris, May 15, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Elon Musk looks at a business summit at the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris, May 15, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

X owner Elon Musk has threatened to sue media watchdog Media Matters and others who attacked his social media platform, after a number of major companies pulled their adverts from his social media site over concerns about antisemitism.

Reports this week by Media Matters for America revealed that adverts from companies including IBM, Apple and Oracle were placed alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company,” Musk said in a post on X.

IBM was the first major brand to suspend its adverts following the Media Matters investigation, calling the situation “entirely unacceptable.”

Comcast, Paramount and Lionsgate are among those who have since pulled their ads. The European Commission has also cut ties, telling staff to stop advertising after an “alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech.”

Musk was already facing criticism for endorsing a virulently antisemitic post on his social media platform on Wednesday. The post accused the “Jewish community” of pushing “dialectical hatred” against white people. Musk agreed with the post, stating: “You have said the actual truth.”

In a statement posted by Musk on Saturday, he said: “This week Media Matters for America posted a story that completely   misrepresented the real experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers.” He accused the watchdog of creating an alternative account designed to “misinform advertisers” about their posts.

Media Matters on Saturday said Musk was a “bully” who threatens “meritless lawsuits”.

“Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified,” Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement.

“If he does sue us, we will win.”

Musk has threatened legal action against other parties in the past, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a nonprofit organisation that fights antisemitism, blaming it for X’s loss of ad revenue. He has not yet sued the ADL, however.

Advertisers have fled the site since Musk bought it in October 2022 and reduced content moderation, resulting in a rise in hate speech, according to some civil rights groups.

The White House on Friday condemned Musk’s endorsement of what it called a “hideous” antisemitic conspiracy theory, and accused Musk of an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate” that “runs against our core values as Americans”.



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