After owner Elon Musk made a statement endorsing a social media post that accused “Jewish communities” of inciting “hatred against whites,” both Apple and Disney have decided to pause their online advertising campaigns on X, formerly known as Twitter. Multiple sources familiar with the matter have confirmed this news. Alongside Apple and Disney, a few other companies, including Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount Global, and Lions Gate Entertainment, have also chosen to suspend their campaigns on the platform.
Comcast Joins the Advertising Suspension
Adding to the list of companies halting their advertising on X, Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, Bravo, and Xfinity, announced on Friday that it would be pausing its online ad campaigns on the real-time messaging service. Although Apple’s move was first reported by Axios, it was The New York Times that broke the news of Disney’s decision. The nonprofit group Media Matters for America singled out Apple in a recent report because its online X ads were featured alongside content that glorified Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Notably, IBM, Oracle, Bravo, and Infinity were also named in the report.
While IBM promptly responded to the allegations made against them, affirming that they have a “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination,” other companies such as Apple, Disney, and Oracle have remained silent regarding the matter. A coalition of 163 Jewish leaders, activists, and academics representing both major political parties issued a statement calling on businesses like Disney, Apple, and Amazon to stop funding X through their ad spend. The statement addresses Musk’s recent behavior and expresses concern about the dangers faced by Jews in light of the antisemitic content spread on X.
White House Criticizes Elon Musk
The controversy surrounding Musk’s comments wasn’t limited to the business world; the White House also publicly criticized him for his tweets. White House spokesman Andrew Bates deemed it “unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time.” Bates seemed to be referring to the tragic mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, where 11 people lost their lives due to antisemitic motivations. Musk responded to the advertiser backlash through his X messaging service, acknowledging that clear calls for extreme violence go against the platform’s terms of service and will result in suspension.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), responded positively to Musk’s statement, thanking him for his move against hate. Meanwhile, in a previous interview with CNBC, Musk expressed his disregard for concerns regarding the inflammatory nature of his X posts, stating that he will say what he wants, even if it means facing financial consequences.
Apple and Disney’s decision to pause their online advertising campaigns on X in response to Elon Musk’s controversial statements has garnered attention from both the business community and the White House. The suspension of advertising from these major companies, along with the increasing pressure from Jewish leaders and activists, highlights the growing concern over the spread of hate speech and antisemitism on social media platforms. While some praise Musk for acknowledging the need to combat hate speech, others believe that more decisive actions must be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of marginalized communities. As the debate surrounding free speech vs. responsible content moderation rages on, it remains to be seen how X will address these issues effectively and regain the trust of both advertisers and users alike.