Verbal middle finger
“Go fuck yourself!”: Elon Musk insults advertisers after X boycott
Elon Musk can no longer get out of the controversy. First he showed support for an anti-Semitic post, now he is insulting renegade advertising customers of his Twitter successor X.
Major advertisers are fleeing for fear of their image Elon Musk’s online platform X – but instead of doing damage control, the tech billionaire verbally shows them the middle finger.
“If someone tries to blackmail me with ads? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself!” Musk rumbled on stage at a New York Times conference on Wednesday, repeating the insult several times. He specifically mentioned Disney boss Bob Iger.
A boycott by advertisers will kill X (formerly Twitter), Musk said. “And the whole world will know that the advertisers killed the company,” he added. When asked whether, as the richest person in the world, he would keep the platform afloat permanently, Musk seemed to indicate that he was willing to accept that X would fail financially.
Elon Musk on the advertising boycott: “Then X will just disappear”
X will then disappear, said Musk, who paid around $44 billion for Twitter a good year ago. Most of the money came from the sale of its shares in the electric car maker Tesla. But around 13 billion came from bank loans, which now burden X. Musk previously said that he had already had to inject money into the online service. The financial service Bloomberg estimates his assets at $228 billion – but it consists almost entirely of stocks.
Several major companies stopped advertising on A day later, hate speech researchers demonstrated in a report how advertising from well-known brands appeared on X next to Nazi posts. In a lawsuit, X claims that the placement was artificially achieved through frequent requests.
Anti-Semitic post: Elon Musk admits mistakes
Musk said for the first time after the weeks-long controversy that his “truth” post was a mistake, “perhaps the worst and stupidest post I have ever published.” His views were misunderstood. He simply wanted to say to Jewish organizations that it was not wise to support radical Islamists who wanted their destruction.
Musk’s X contribution was condemned by the White House, among others, and received approval in anti-Semitic circles. He then repeatedly emphasized that he was not an anti-Semite. Musk was received in Israel on Monday. There he visited, among other things, a kibbutz that was attacked by the Islamist Hamas on October 7th with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Musk emphasized on Wednesday that the visit had nothing to do with the controversy surrounding his X contribution.
Interview: Unusual insights into Musk’s mindset
In the 90-minute interview, financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin used constant questions to provide unusually deep insights into Musk’s mindset and motivations. Some highlights:
- Three years to artificial super intelligence: Musk estimates that it will only take three years for an AI program to become better at individual tasks than the humans who are best at it: “Write a novel as good as JK Rowling, discover new physics or invent new technology.” . The dangers of artificial intelligence used to rob him of sleep: “In my opinion, AI is more dangerous than atomic bombs.”
- “Digital God” is coming: Musk doesn’t think much of attempts – for example by artists and the publishing industry – to stop the use of copyrighted works to train artificial intelligence in court. “Until these lawsuits are decided, we will have a digital god,” he said. He didn’t deny that Twitter’s wealth of 17 years of posts provides a unique database for his own AI company, X.AI.
- Musk won’t vote for Joe Biden: The tech billionaire feels insulted by today’s US President. Musk complained that Biden wanted to hold an electric car summit without Tesla at the beginning of his term in office and then described competitor General Motors as setting the pace for electric mobility. “In the quarter, Tesla built 300,000 electric cars and GM built 26. Does that seem fair to you?” Musk fumed. “I don’t think I will vote for Biden” – even if the election in November 2024 were between him and Donald Trump. “I’m not saying I would vote for Trump. It’s a difficult decision.”
- Evasive maneuvers on the subject of China: Sorkin hit Musk hard with some important questions. He wanted to know whether China could put pressure on Musk because Tesla has a large factory there and the market plays an important role. Musk evasively said that this also applies to other car manufacturers. Also left unanswered was the question of whether it was hypocritical to present himself as a champion of free speech while doing business in China, where such rights are ignored.
- Musk didn’t want to talk about it either Starlink satellite communications service not give him too much political power. A few months ago it became known that he prevented a Ukrainian attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea by refusing Starlink support. At the same time, at the beginning of the Russian invasion, he had numerous Starlink terminals delivered to Ukraine, which helped Ukrainian troops.
- “Monkey paradise” in research for brain implants: Musk denied reports of animal mistreatment at his company Neuralink. “Neuralink has never caused the death of a monkey,” he said. “It’s like a monkey paradise.” Neuralink wants to test the chips on people soon. The technology is intended to help eliminate paralysis and also enable vision, for example if the optic nerve is damaged.