The downfall of Twitter, now X, remains the slowest train wreck we just can’t take our eyes off of. And now, we’ve got some truly famous last words from the man in charge.
This week, after Elon Musk publicly concurred with an anti-Semitic post, multiple major brands paused advertising. His totally normal response to those advertisers: “Go fuck yourselves.”
Earlier this month, the world’s richest man endorsed a now-deleted post advancing a number of conspiracy theories popular with white supremacists—namely, reverse racism and great replacement. “Jewish communties [sic] have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them,” the post claimed, adding that “hordes of minorities” are flooding Western nations.
“You have said the actual truth,” Musk replied.
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The mayor of divatown is signing off, finally.
As a result, Comcast, Disney, Apple, IBM, Paramount, and Warner Bros Discovery, among others, paused advertising on the site.
On Wednesday, Musk discussed the fallout in a conversation with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin during the New York Times’ DealBook summit. While he admitted some regret for the statement, calling it one of his “most foolish” tweets, he added, “I should have written in greater length what I meant.”
At the same time, Musk characterized the advertisers’ response as a form of “blackmail.” “Don’t advertise,” he said. “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear?”
Musk specifically called out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who had commented earlier at the same event that a partnership with X is “not necessarily a positive one for us.”
“Hey Bob,” said Musk, “if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel — don’t advertise.”
Ever since Musk bought X—overpaying an astounding 44 billion dollars for it—it’s been unclear how exactly he plans to make up the money. When Sorkin pointed out that turning away advertisers is a surefire way to kill the company, Musk agreed. But strangely, he contended that “the Earth” (?) would blame the advertisers and would view the site as some kind of free-speech martyr.
“Actually, what this advertising boycott is going to do is, it’s going to kill the company,” Musk said. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we will document it in great detail.”
Actually, no one’s going to care. Everyone moved on a long time ago.
Twitter has been on a downhill decline ever since Musk took over, laid off his staff, weakened moderation and safety protocols for marginalized users, reinstated a deluge of banned extremist accounts, and personally promoted misinformation. It’s already lost over 50% of its revenue and now its advertisers are flying the coop. All that’s left to do now is grab the popcorn and keep watching that train wreck.
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