Advertisers ‘won’t take risk’ of returning to X after Elon Musk’s expletive-filled rant

Advertisers are refusing to return to X – formerly Twitter – after the platform’s owner Elon Musk told them to “go f*** yourselves” if they try to pull their marketing from the microblogging site.

After Mr Musk was accused of antisemitism last month, a number of the world’s biggest companies and X’s biggest advertisers, including Apple and IBM, pulled their marketing from the platform.

While the Tesla chief initially said he was “sorry” and denied any suggestion he was antisemitic, he later added that advertisers who withdrew their marketing from X because of his tweet should “go f*** yourselves”.

“If someone is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money? Go f*** yourself. Go f*** yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is,” Mr Musk said at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit.

“The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we’ll document it in great detail,” he added.

Now, a number of marketing agencies say the brands they represent are firmly against returning to advertising on X.

“Thank you Elon Musk, for making it very clear how seriously you take advertisers concerns… Advertisers, judge for yourselves if this is a man who you can do business with,” Lou Paskalis, the founder and chief of the marketing consultancy AJL Advisory, posted on X.

“There is no advertising value that would offset the reputational risk of going back on the platform,” Mr Paskalis told NYT.

Advertisers are unlikely to step in to support X, said Ruben Schreurs, the chief strategy officer at marketing firm Ebiquity.

The row began last month after Mr Musk endorsed a post claiming that Jewish people “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them” as the “actual truth”.

In response, a number of top companies, including Apple, Disney and Coca Cola, have since removed paid ads from X – moves that could slash the company’s revenue by millions of dollars.

Watchdog Media Matters also published a report alleging that ads on X were being placed next to posts supporing Nazism, in response to which the social media company filed a defamation claim against the group.

Mr Musk’s rank at the Dealbook Summit came come on Wednesday. “I will certainly not pander,” the multibillionaire said.

He even took a direct jab at Disney chief Bob Iger who had earlier explained why the entertainment company had pulled advertising from X.

Just hours after Mr Musk’s expletive-laden comment on Wednesday, X chief Linda Yaccarino attempted to soften the damage, sharing the owner’s apology on the platform and appealing to advertisers to return.

“Here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and here to welcome you,” Ms Yaccarino said.

“Businesses are simply full of people, and people like to be treated well, respected and dealt with with dignity,” Steve Boehler, founder of marketing management consultancy Mercer Island Group, told NYT.


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