Elon Musk’s X, previously Twitter, has handed Apple, Disney, and other advertisers the middle finger amid an ad boycott that might cost the firm $75 million.
Musk’s new outburst comes as big advertisers such as Disney, IBM, and Apple have paused advertising following Musk’s declaration that a dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory was the “absolute truth.”
As the company may lose up to $75 million in revenue this quarter, Musk served a clear message to the advertisers who have pulled back.
Speaking on stage Wednesday at The New York Times Dealbook summit, he said
- “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Go F**k yourself,” Musk said onstage.
- He then called out Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, whose company was one of the first big brands to boycott X. “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience,” Musk said, waving his hand.
Musk made the remarks during an interview with Time’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, in which the platform’s owner released a torrent of venom and defiance in response to queries about the advertising situation and his part in it.
- “Let the chips fall where they may,” Musk declared at one point, after urging any marketers who don’t like what he has to stop advertising on X. “Don’t advertise,” he repeatedly taunted.
In the crowd was also X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has been the company’s proverbial pain sponge.
While Musk’s disruptive strategy wreaks havoc and drives sponsors away like a bull in a china shop, Yaccarino is left to pick up the pieces.
With her two decades of advertising experience (several at NBCUniversal, another advertiser that suspended spending on X), the job of winning back advertisers appears to lie on her shoulders.
Musk, 52, went on to predict that the latest advertiser snob will finally kill the company.
- “What this advertising boycott is going to do is it’s going to kill the company,” Musk said. “The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we’ll document it in great detail.”