WASHINGTON (JTA) — Elon Musk tweeted that George Soros “hates humanity,” and wrote that the billionaire and progressive megadonor “reminds me of Magneto,” a comic book villain who features in Marvel’s X-Men series.
The attacks on Soros come as Twitter has faced criticism over its lax hate speech policies in the months since Musk, one of the world’s richest people, bought the platform last year. Soros, the billionaire and progressive megadonor, is at the center of multiple antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Like Soros, the character of Magneto is a Holocaust survivor. Brian Krassenstein, a liberal Jewish journalist, noted that parallel in a reply to Musk’s tweet, writing, “Magneto’s experiences during the Holocaust as a survivor shaped his perspective as well as his depth and empathy,” and that Soros “gets attacked nonstop for his good intentions which some Americans think are bad merely because they disagree with [his] political affiliations.”
Musk responded, “You assume they are good intentions. They are not. He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.”
While Musk has railed against progressive policies, what prompted his attack on Soros isn’t clear. On the same day as the tweets, however, Soros’ family investment office cashed out its investment in Tesla, Musk’s electric car company.
Soros, 92, has long been a target of conservatives for backing progressive causes and politicians in the United States and worldwide. In the last decade or so, some of the attacks have echoed antisemitic conspiracy theories, depicting Soros as satanic, accusing him of seeking world control and falsely accusing him of helping perpetrate the Holocaust rather than surviving it as a child.
These conspiracy theories accelerated after the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, who made Soros a focus of his final campaign ad that year and who has relentlessly portrayed Soros as a villain as he runs for the 2024 election.
Musk, who calls himself a free speech absolutist, has reinstated the Twitter accounts of right wing extremists who had previously been banned, a move that alarmed Jewish anti-bigotry groups. He suspended some of the extremists again after they returned to posting hateful tweets. Extremists have lauded him and he has returned the affection, encouraging some of their theories. In December, Musk disbanded an advisory group focused on “Trust and Safety” on Twitter, and in March, a study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue think tank found that antisemitism more than doubled on the platform in the months since Musk took it over.