Facing a public backlash and an exodus of major advertisers, Elon Musk on Wednesday tried to walk back his recent antisemitic post on X, expressing regret over what he called his “dumbest” ever social media post.
“Essentially, I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably to those who are anti-Semitic, and for that I am quite sorry,” Musk said in an interview with the New York Times, adding “that was not my intention.”
The post in question came earlier this month when Musk engaged with an X user who claimed Jews have been encouraging “dialectical hatred against whites” and the “hordes of minorities that support flooding their country.”
The tech billionaire, who owns X in addition to Tesla and SpaceX, endorsed the post, calling it “the actual truth.”
Musk later said claims he is antisemitic “couldn’t be farther from the truth,” and in his interview with the Times, said that “in retrospect,” he would “not have replied to that particular post.”
“I mean, look, I’m sorry for that … post,” said Musk. “It was foolish of me. Of the 30,000 it might be literally the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done.”
He claimed that “in fact far from being anti-Semitic, I’m in fact philo-Semitic,” or a lover of Jews.
Musk visited Israel on Monday, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but insisted that his trip there was not in response to the controversy over his X post, was not, in his words, an “apology tour.”
Major advertisers – including Comcast, Discovery, Paramount and Warner Bros. – began pulling their ads from X over claims of rising antisemitism on the social media site, widely blamed on Musk, who loosened controls over hate speech when he bought the platform.
Musk lashed out at them with profanity.
“I don’t want them to advertise,” he said. “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising or money go f**k yourself.”
Musk singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger for pulling ads from the site, saying: “Go f**k yourself, is that clear? Hey, Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel. Don’t advertise.”
But in September, Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, a group which fights antisemitism, blaming it for a months-long mass exodus of advertisers from his X platform.
Last month, it was widely reported that X has lost half its value since Musk bought it in 2022, when it was named Twitter.