Apple, Disney and IBM to pause ads on X after antisemitic Elon Musk tweet | Apple
Apple will pause all its advertising on X, formerly Twitter, two days after owner Elon Musk tweeted his enthusiastic agreement with an antisemitic post.
A cascade of other major technology and media companies, from IBM to Disney, made similar announcements on Friday.
Apple’s ads had run beside tweets praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, according to areleased earlier in the week. Film studio Lionsgate said it would also pause ads on X, as did , , , and , according to media reports. IBM made a similar move the night prior. The New York Times Disney would be pausing spending on the social media platform as well.
The billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wrote Wednesday that a tweet accusing Jews of hating white people was “the actual truth”. The White House condemned Musk’s statements Friday morning, lambasting them as “abhorrent”. A coalition of more than 150 rabbis had called for Apple, Disney, Amazon, Oracle and others to stop advertising on the social network in response to Musk’s tweets.
The iPhone maker had been one of the social network’s biggest advertisers, spending as much as $100m a year there as of November 2022 when Musk purchased it, according to Bloomberg. The company said it had “mostly stopped” advertising on X in December 2022, though. Since then, Twitter’s business has been in free fall, with advertisers fleeing, regulators circling, user numbers sinking and staff at less than 50% of pre-Musk levels. Researchers have documented a disturbing rise in antisemitic and racist posts on the social network in the aftermath of his disastrous acquisition as well.
Musk picked a fight with Apple in December 2022 as the company decreased its advertising, wondering online whether CEO Tim Cook and his employees “hate free speech in America”. He tweeted a meme about “going to war” with Apple at the time but deleted it. Cook invited Musk to Apple’s corporate headquarters not long after, and the two seemed to reach a detente.
IBM, also one of X’s biggest advertisers, announced it would stop advertising on X Thursday. The company made the decision in response to a report by liberal watchdog Media Matters that found both IBM and Apple’s ads running alongside hate speech. Musk called Media Matters an “evil organization” in response.
“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” a company spokesperson told the Guardian.
Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X, and former advertising sales chief at NBC Universal, attempted to do damage control for her boss Thursday, writing, “X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board.” She did not use Musk’s name or mention his tweets, however.