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Advertisers Flee X as Musk Threatens ‘Thermonuclear’ Lawsuit

Major advertisers continue to flee X following Elon Musk’s approval of an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

AppleDisneyWarner BrothersSonyParamount and IBM have suspended ads on the social media platform once known as Twitter, The New York Times reported Sunday (Nov. 19).

The decision — coming as the company is battling to regain advertisers — follows an incident last week in which Musk replied to a post on X that accused Jewish people facing prejudice as Israel makes war on Hamas of committing the “exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them” and backing the immigration of “hordes of minorities.”

“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied. 

The Times report noted this drew condemnation from the White House and from Jewish groups who said Musk gave a spotlight to “replacement theory,” a racist and antisemitic conspiracy embraced by the gunman behind the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh in 2018.

Musk responded by threatening legal action against Media Matters, a left-leaning advocacy group that had reported that it found instances where ads for Apple and other brands appeared next to pro-Nazi posts.

“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 wrote on the platform.

X says the way Media Matters discovered the ads that ran next to the antisemitic posts did not represent the way most people use the platform. In a blog post, X said that Media Matters followed accounts that posted the content and then refreshed the timeline until ads appeared.

The platform, still called Twitter at the time, saw a mass exit of advertisers soon after Musk purchased it. In September, CEO Linda Yaccarino said that 1,500 advertisers had returned to the platform during the prior three months, with 90% of the company’s top 100 advertisers making a comeback.

Musk’s current advertising troubles come as he tries to position X as something more than just a social media site.

Last month, he reportedly told employees he expects to turn X into a payments super app by next year.

“When I say payments, I actually mean someone’s entire financial life,” Musk said during a company all-hands call. “If it involves money, it’ll be on our platform. Money or securities or whatever. So, it’s not just like sending $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”