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Elon Musk has insisted he is not antisemitic after coming under fire for calling an antisemitic conspiracy theory the “actual truth” and as a slew of major corporations pulled advertising funding from X over the proliferation of pro-Nazi content.
In a post on X on Sunday, Mr Musk responded to the accusations, claiming that “nothing could be further from the truth”.
“This past week, there were hundreds of bogus media stories claiming that I am antisemitic. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he wrote.
“I wish only the best for humanity and a prosperous and exciting future for all.”
The saga began when a social media user appeared to push the “great replacement” conspiracy theory on X, 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”.
“I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest s*** now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much. You want truth said to your face, there it is,” the post added.
Mr Musk replied to the post, writing on his X platform: “You have said the actual truth.”
The initial post came in response to a campaign video posted on X by the Foundation to Combat Anti-Semitism. In the video, a father is seen calling his son out over the hateful rhetoric the son has spewed online.
Mr Musk’s response received praise from white nationalist Nick Fuentes – while prompting widespread backlash from dozens more online.
CNN’s Jake Tapper was among the first to condemn the tech mogul, accusing him of “pushing unvarnished antisemitism at a time of rising antisemitism and violence against Jews”.
The White House then also weighed in, accusing Musk of enabling the “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate”.
The antisemitism row continued when, later in the week, a series of major companies – including Disney, Apple and IBM – said they would pull advertising from X after adverts for the companies appeared alongside pro-Nazi posts.
On Thursday, Media Matters, a left-leaning non-profit group, published a report that said it had found adverts from big brands including IBM, Apple, Oracle and Bravo running next to pro-Hitler and antisemitic content.
It is unclear how this happened but it came after Mr Musk relaxed moderation policies on X and cut many staff involved with safety on the platform when his $44bn acquisition closed last year.
An X spokesperson told The Independent the company did not intentionally place the adverts next to the posts from the antisemitic accounts, which have now been demonetised, meaning advertising can no longer run on their profiles.
In response to the advertising boycott, Mr Musk threatened to file a “thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and all those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company”.
The scandal comes as X CEO Linda Yaccarino and other staff have reportedly been scrambling to put out the fires being lit by Mr Musk following a growing number of accusations that the billionaire has promoted antisemitism, according to The New York Times.
The outlet reported that it has seen messages from X sales employees asking what they should say to their clients, who have been raising concerns about both Mr Musk’s recent remarks and advertising showing up next to antisemitic posts.
This is not the first time the business magnate has been accused of being linked to content that promotes antisemitism.
In the days after the 7 October Hamas terror attack on Israel, Mr Musk was forced to delete a post where he amplified an account widely accused of antisemitism and of promoting debunked videos as reliable sources of information about the attack.
Meanwhile, last year, advocacy organisation the American Jewish Committee called on Mr Musk to apologise over a controversial post that made a satirical comparison between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Adolf Hitler.
Mr Musk has previously insisted that he is “pro free speech” but against antisemitism “of any kind”.
In September, he threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League – a century-old NGO that describes itself as the “leading anti-hate organisation in the world” – after the organisation accused him of antisemitism.