Kobeissi Letter reported that thousands of users had shared screenshots of canceled subscriptions on Disney's streaming platform within hours of Musk's interview at the 2023 DealBook summit.
During his conversation with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times, Musk dismissed the recent trend of advertisers leaving his X platform due to concerns about the sentiments expressed on the app. He singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger in the audience, greeting him with a casual "Hi, Bob." (Related: Time to boycott Elon’s boycotters.)
The X owner was unequivocal in his response when questioned about his concerns regarding advertisers departing the platform, implying a lack of care and resistance to blackmail. He further asserted that his supporters would boycott these advertisers, ultimately revealing them as responsible for the company's collapse. Musk expressed indifference to being disliked by these individuals.
This led major advertisers, including Disney and Apple, to withdraw their campaigns from the X platform despite Musk offering apologies for his stance on the matter. Disney wasn't the only one impacted by the blowback, however. Users of Paramount Plus, another streaming platform, have also reported a parallel surge in cancellations.
Musk has long maintained a controversial public profile, particularly concerning his choice of words. Recent headlines featured Musk promoting content deemed "antisemitic and racist hate" on the X app, prompting a statement from the White House.
Notable figures such as Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo have also abandoned the platform in response to Musk's posts. However, Musk clarified that his intent was not antisemitic but rather a firm commitment to free speech.
Meanwhile, X Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino stepped in to defend Musk amid the controversy surrounding his provocative statements to advertisers.
Yaccarino emphasized that X provides a platform for information independence, acknowledging that it may be uncomfortable for some users. She clarified that X is a platform empowering individuals to make their own decisions in navigating diverse perspectives.
Formerly called Twitter, the X platform is facing potential losses of up to $75 million in advertising revenue as over a dozen major companies – including Airbnb, Coca-Cola, IBM, Microsoft and Xfinity – decided to withdraw from the platform. The exodus of advertisers began when IBM, among the first high-profile companies, suspended its ads on X following a report from the left-wing watchdog Media Matters for America (MMfA).
The report revealed that advertisements for IBM, Apple, Oracle, and Xfinity appeared in proximity to neo-Nazi posts and content praising Adolf Hitler. Musk accused MMfA of going to great lengths to produce these findings, asserting that they did not reflect the typical user experience. In response, X Corp. filed a defamation lawsuit against the watchdog.
Musk faced further criticism after sharing a post on X containing an argument claiming that "Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them."
Musk later apologized for the post, acknowledging it as "one of the most foolish, if not the most foolish, things I’ve done" on the platform. The White House condemned the post, describing it as an "abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate."
Disney spent a huge $7.2 billion on advertising in fiscal year 2022, surpassing its advertising budgets in 2021 ($5.5 billion) and 2020 ($4.7 billion). Despite this, the California-based entertainment company joins a growing list of major companies facing backlash from right-wing critics, particularly online.
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Watch X owner Elon Musk expressing strong words against advertisers who boycotted his platform below.
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