Backlash builds after Elon Musk called an antisemitic conspiracy theory the ‘actual truth’

Backlash builds after Elon Musk called an antisemitic conspiracy theory the ‘actual truth’

Elon Musk has encouraged extremists and white supremacists throughout his yearlong tenure as the owner of X, formerly Twitter, but this week he still managed to push the limits of what behavior mainstream users — and advertisers — will tolerate.

On Wednesday, Musk endorsed a post from an X user accusing Jewish communities of spreading “dialectical hatred against whites.” The statement was itself a reply to a different X post sharing a PSA video from the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism along with criticism of anonymous users who post “Hitler was right” online.

“I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that [they supported] flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much,” the X user wrote in response. “You want truth said to your face, there it is.”

Musk replied: “You have said the actual truth.”

The post Musk went out of his way to praise invoked the same white nationalist conspiracy theory espoused by Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. Minutes before the shooting, Bowers posted on the far right social media site Gab that the Jewish American nonprofit HIAS that provides aid to refugees “likes to bring invaders that kill our people.” “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” Bowers wrote, moments before killing 11 people at the Pittsburgh synagogue.

The comment from X’s owner and CTO is increasingly attracting widespread condemnation. On Friday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates responded to Musk’s most recent endorsement of white supremacy on his own platform.

“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,” Bates said, citing the Tree of Life tragedy and Hamas’ deadly attack in Israel on October 7. “We all have a responsibility to bring people together against hate, and an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the diginity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities.”

The fallout from Musk’s support for antisemitic and racist conspiracies spread further on Friday afternoon, with Apple announcing a “pause” on all of the company’s advertising on X.

The tweet Musk called “the actual truth” also echoed the broader Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which white nationalists have popularized to sow fear about non-white people displacing white population majorities in countries like the U.S.

The X owner has engaged with antisemitic figures before. Musk previously welcomed Kanye West onto X after the musician was restricted on Instagram after invoking antisemitic tropes. Less than a day later, West infamously tweeted his intention of “going death [sic] con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” and later posted a Star of David merged with a swastika. X suspended West’s account in December but reinstated it over the summer.

A year ago, Musk reinstated a number of accounts previously suspended for spreading hate, including infamous neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, who created the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer. Upon his return, Anglin probed Twitter’s new rules in a reply to Musk: “Ye caught a 12 hour suspension for tweeting a Star of David with a swastika in it… Whatever the rules are, people will follow them. We just need to know what the rules are.”

Musk has made a habit of engaging with self-declared white nationalists and other hate figures on X. In September, Musk liked a tweet from a self-described “raging anti-semite” who started a campaign to ban the Anti-Defamation League from X. Musk accused the ADL, a Jewish civil rights organization, of being “the biggest generators of anti-Semitism on this platform” and threatened to sue the group over lost advertising revenue from its criticism of rising of hate speech on X under his leadership.

In spite of Musk’s well-documented history, X CEO Linda Yaccarino defended her company on Thursday, stating that X has “been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination.”

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz offered some sardonic commentary about the situation on Threads, Meta’s X competitor. “Xitter CEO Linda Yaccarino faces her biggest test yet as she decides whether to terminate her antisemitic CTO or risk losing even more advertisers,” Moskovitz wrote. “How will she handle this tricky, yet morally unambiguous situation?”

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