More major advertisers have halted spending on X, the social media service formerly known as Twitter, as backlash continued over Elon Musk’s endorsement of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory on the platform.
Entertainment company Warner Bros. and Sony, along with other prominent brands, have halted their spending on X. IBM stopped advertising on X on Thursday, while Apple, Lionsgate, an entertainment and film distribution company, and Paramount Global, the media giant that owns CBS, all paused their advertising on Friday.
The spending freeze comes as Big brands are often cautious when it comes to placing their ads next to posts containing offensive or hate speech.
Musk, who bought Twitter in October 2022 and renamed it X, attracted attention this past week after responding to a post on “to encourage the exact kind of dialectical hatred of white people.” that they claim they want people to stop using it against them” and support the immigration of “hordes of minorities.”
“You said the actual truth,” Musk responded. Jewish groups said Musk’s message reinforced a conspiracy theory known as the replacement theory, which claims that Jews have organized non-white immigrants to replace the white race. The concept was embraced by Robert Bowers, who killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.
Musk’s statement led to condemnation from the White House on Friday. Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said in a statement that it is “unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of anti-Semitism in American history at any time, let alone a month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since World War II. Holocaust.”
Musk lashed out at advertisers who pulled their dollars from X on Friday, threatening legal action against Media Matters, a left-wing advocacy group that said it had found anti-Semitic content on brought attention. messages promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
In a post Friday evening, Musk said: “Split-second court opens on Monday, X Corp will file a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL who conspired in this fraudulent attack on our company.”
X said the research strategy Media Matters used to uncover ads with anti-Semitic content was not representative of the way ordinary people use the platform. The organization tracked accounts that posted the content and then refreshed the X timeline until ads appeared, X said in a blog post. Only one of the nine posts flagged by Media Matters violated content moderation rules, X added.
In a statement, Joe Benarroch, head of operations at .” He added: “Data trumps accusations.”
Media Matters said it would defend itself against lawsuits by has even confirmed that they are correct,” said Angelo Carusone, the President of Media Affairs. “Musk admitted that the ads in question were adjacent to the pro-Nazi content we identified. This is like getting angry at a mirror because you don’t like the reflection. If he sues us, we will win.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.