(JTA) — IBM pulled $1 million in ads from X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after owner Elon Musk called an antisemitic post the “absolute truth,” his most direct endorsement of antisemitism since he started sparring with watchdogs who call out hate speech.
And the tech giant may not be the only one to cut its ad spending. The New York Times reported Thursday that ad salespeople for X were fielding questions about the post, and other white nationalist comments, from other major advertisers. The Biden Administration, which is maintaining substantial government contracts with Musk’s other enterprises, also condemned him.
Musk was replying Wednesday to a user on X who wrote, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them. I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s— now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities [they] support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.”
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied.
The post appeared to endorse the “Great Replacement Theory,” which posits that Jews are orchestrating the replacement of white populations in Western countries via the mass immigration of people of color. The theory motivated the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history, and has inspired other mass shootings.
Musk’s endorsement of the post comes as reports of antisemitic harassment and violence are spiking during Israel’s war with Hamas.
IBM released a statement to the Financial Times saying it had “suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
Also troubling for advertisers are reports from a liberal watchdog, Media Matters, that their ads were appearing adjacent to posts by antisemites and white supremacists. On Thursday, Musk called Media Matters an “evil organization.”
Musk also canceled a scheduled appearance at the CEO component of the Asia Pacific Economic Coalition now meeting in San Francisco. He and organizers blamed a last-minute scheduling conflict.
A White House spokesman, Andrew Bates, condemned Musk’s tweet in a statement he and other Biden Administration officials promoted on X, and which referred to the Pittsburgh massacre as well as the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack that launched the latest war.
“It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” Bates said. “We condemn this abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans.”
Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, a space technology firm that has multiple lucrative contracts with the U.S. government, as well as of electric car manufacturer Tesla, which benefits from massive government subsidies.
Linda Yaccarino, whom Musk hired earlier this year as X’s CEO, after saying he would be hands-off on the platform, said in a post, without referring to her boss, that “discrimination should STOP.”
“X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination,” she wrote. “There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong.”
Musk has flirted with antisemitic imagery since he took over the platform about a year ago. He attacked billionaire liberal philanthropist and hedge funder George Soros, a frequent target of antisemitism as someone who “hates humanity” and has repeatedly attacked and threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, at one point blaming the antisemitism watchdog for the proliferation of antisemitism.
In a response to his “actual truth” post, Musk again took aim at the ADL.
“The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel,” he wrote. “This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat. It is not right and needs to stop.”
Jewish groups. including the ADL, said Musk’s latest foray was dangerous.
“Elon Musk’s agreement with a user promoting elements of the Great Replacement theory isn’t the ‘truth’,” the American Jewish Committee said on the platform. “It is the deadliest antisemitic conspiracy theory in modern U.S. history and motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.”
A letter by more than 100 Jewish activists called out Musk for “spreading the kind of antisemitism that leads to massacres.”
Musk is not the only conservative influencer who is now amplifying the “Great Replacement Theory” and singling out Jews. Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative campus movement, defended Musk in an appearance on his streamed talkshow.
“I don’t like generalizations, not every Jewish person believes that,” Kirk said. “It is true that some of the largest financiers of left wing anti-white causes have been Jewish Americans. They went all in on ‘woke’ and it wasn’t just ADL. It was some of the top Jewish organizations in the country that have done that.”
Tucker Carlson, the top-rated talkshow host fired earlier this year by Fox News Channel, joined Candace Owens, another far-right influencer, in claiming that wealthy Jews were paying to promote anti-white movements. Owens and Carlson were irked that Jewish donors were withdrawing funding from universities that have been the scenes of antisemitic harassment since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.
“You were calling my children immoral for their skin color. You paid for that,” Carlson said on his streamed show Wednesday on X. “So why shouldn’t I be mad at you?”
Both have gone to bat for antisemitic statements in the past. Carlson endorsed the Great Replacement theory on his Fox show in 2021. Owens defended the rapper Kanye West during his stream of antisemitic comments last year.
Carlson and Kirk are both close to former President Donald Trump, who also has become more explicit in recent months in singling out Jews, sharing content suggesting that Jews who do not vote for him are a threat to the country.
The flooding of social media with antisemitic content featured in a call that the New York Times reported Friday between executives of the short video platform, TikTok, and Jewish celebrities.
“What is happening at TikTok is it is creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis,” said Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor and comedian who was among more than a dozen celebrities on the call. “Shame on you.”