The heat continues to be applied to Elon Musk and “X” as numerous advertisers have left the platform in a misguided protest against perceived antisemitic comments from the “Space X” CEO. Warner Brothers, Discovery, Comcast, Disney, and Lionsgate have all pulled advertising, leading Musk to unleash an expletive-laced tirade when asked about it during The New York Times DealBook Summit last week.
Now, the largest retailer in the United States has announced it will stop advertising on X, joining the other woke corporations in pulling ads and bleeding X of revenue. A Walmart spokesman said the retailer is shifting its advertising to other platforms that allegedly will more effectively reach their customer base. The company said: “We aren’t advertising on X as we’ve found other platforms to better reach our customers.”
Despite Walmart’s assertion that other platforms would be more suitable for their advertising dollars, the numbers don’t necessarily support the claim. According to Breitbart, X’s head of business operations, Joe Benarroch, noted that there are over a million users on the platform, most of whom are online shoppers. It would seem self-defeating to stop advertising on a platform that boasts so many online shopping followers unless there were more to the story than simple numbers.
Since acquiring the platform, some advertisers have been under pressure from the left. Musk has been vocal with his criticisms of censorship and the Biden Administration, leaving many liberals furious that their preferred propaganda outlet was being transformed into a place where folks on both sides could speak freely. A loss in revenue is never a good thing, but Musk dug in with his comments last week.
Much of the controversy started from a post on X by Musk in response to another poster. The Tesla CEO admitted he shouldn’t have replied. He said: “I should have not replied to that particular person… I essentially handed a loaded gun to those who hate me. What I was saying was that it’s unwise to support groups that want your annihilation. If anything, I am Philo-Semitic.” Despite clarifying his comments, advertisers have taken the opportunity to leave the platform, claiming Musk to be anti-Jew.
During the New York Times event, Musk doubled down on the companies, claiming antisemitism as the reason for leaving. When asked about the situation, he suggested to former advertisers, “Go f*ck yourself… Go. F*ck. Yourself. Is that clear?” While it certainly wasn’t a good look from Musk, should anyone be surprised?
The X billionaire isn’t shy about expressing himself and his opinions, and despite the blowback, an apology isn’t likely. Musk fancies himself a free-speech absolutist and purchased the platform to remove the restrictions on conservative voices. While X is now a much more friendly place for folks on the right, the advertising losses could hamper the company moving forward.
One notable marketing firm suggested advertisers might not want the heat from getting back on X: “There is no advertising value that would offset the reputational risk of going back on the platform.” The revenue loss could come in as high as $75 million, according to Breitbart, but for now, Musk seems undeterred. It will be interesting to see if the billionaire CEO will walk anything back, but based on his history since he purchased Twitter, the guess is he won’t.
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