Nov 18 (Reuters) – Elon Musk on Saturday threatened to sue media watchdog Media Matters and attackers of his social media site X, after several major U.S. companies stopped advertising on the site after it was advertised with anti-Semitic content.
Musk and X have been under the microscope all week for a surge in anti-Semitic and racist content since buying the site in 2022.
The liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America said earlier this week that ads from IBM, Apple and others were placed with content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
On Wednesday, Musk endorsed an anti-Semitic post on X that falsely claimed members of the Jewish community were inciting hatred against white people, drawing sharp condemnation, including from the White House.
“A split second court opens Monday to file a thermonuclear lawsuit against X Corp Media Matters and all those who cooperated in this fraudulent attack on our company,” Musk wrote in a post on X, without naming any other parties.
Several companies, including IBM, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Comcast, Lion’s Gate Entertainment and Paramount Global, have stopped advertising in the past two days. Axios reports that Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, will do the same.
“This week Media Matters for America published a story that grossly misrepresents the actual experience at X, another attempt to undermine free speech and mislead advertisers.” Report Musk posted. He accused Media Matters of creating an alternate account to “misinform advertisers” about their posts.
Media Matters on Saturday called Musk a “bully” who threatens “inappropriate lawsuits.”
“Musk acknowledged the ads at issue with pro-Nazi content,” Media Matters president Angelo Carusone said in a statement.
If he sues us we will win.
Musk has threatened legal action against other parties in the past, most notably the Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit organization that fights anti-Semitism, which it blamed on X’s loss of advertising revenue. However, he has yet to sue the ADL.
Advertisers have pulled out and lowered content ratings since Musk bought the site in October 2022, resulting in a sharp increase in hate speech, according to civil rights groups.
The White House on Friday denounced what Musk called a “vicious” antisemitic conspiracy theory, and Musk accused him of “abhorrent bigotry and xenophobia” that “runs counter to our core values as Americans.”
Musk is also chief executive of electric car maker Tesla ( TSLA.O ), which has been hit by several lawsuits alleging racism or sexual harassment against workers.
Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years in the United States and around the world. Following the outbreak of war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which struck Israel on Oct. 7, anti-Semitic incidents in the United States have increased nearly 400% from the previous year, according to the ADL.
Reporting by Mirunmai Dey and Jyoti Narayan in Bangalore; By David Kaffen; Editing by Thomas Janowski, Kirsten Donovan, and Daniel Wallis
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