Apple, Disney, other media companies pause advertising on X after Elon Musk boosted antisemitic tweet

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Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on following a conversation on mental health, during a spousal program on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week at Apple Park in San Francisco, California, on November 17, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Apple has paused its online advertising campaigns on X (formerly Twitter), after owner Elon Musk said he agreed with a social media post accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites,” according to reports in Axios and the New York Times.

A Lions Gate Entertainment spokesperson also told CNBC that it would be suspending advertising on X.

The iPhone maker was singled out in a report published this week by the Media Matters for America nonprofit as one of a handful of big companies, including IBM, Bravo, Oracle and Infinity whose online X ads were displayed next “to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.”

An IBM spokesperson said Thursday that the tech giant would halt its online ad campaigns on X, explaining that the tech giant “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 spokesperson for Comcast, which owns Bravo and Xfinity and is also the parent of CNBC, said yesterday that it’s investigating the situation. Apple and Oracle did not respond to requests for comment.

A coalition of 163 Jewish leaders, activists and academics representing both major political parties also issued a statement this week in response to Musk’s recent behavior, calling on businesses like Disney, Apple and Amazon “to stop funding X through their ad spend.”

The X Out Hate group originally urged those companies to suspend their online advertising campaigns on X in September, when Musk insinuated that he would file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League, alleging that the ADL was “trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic.”

At the time, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who also criticized Musk’s recent controversial X posts this week, dismissed the Tesla chief’s rhetoric as simply a “threat of a frivolous lawsuit.”

“It has been two months since we originally put out our call for large advertisers like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Disney to stop funneling money onto X as antisemitism explodes on the platform,” the Jewish leaders said in their latest statement. “Nothing has changed. Except for the danger Jews are in.”

Also on Friday, the White House publicly criticized Musk over the billionaire’s tweets. White House spokesman Andrew Bates said it was “unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of Antisemitism in American history at any time.”

Watch: IBM pauses advertising on X after Elon Musk receives backlash for antisemitic post.

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