Elon Musk gestures while looking at phone. — X/@alamy Elon Musk apologised for his “dumbest” social media post ever in his first interview with the media after his antisemitic statement on X earlier this month — however, he lashed out at sponsors who were quitting his site due to escalating antisemitism on X.
“I don’t want them to advertise,” he said at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York. “If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising or money go f**k yourself. Go. F**k. Yourself,” he said. “Is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel” he added, referring to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who spoke earlier at the summit on Wednesday.
A request for comment on Musk’s statements was not immediately returned by Disney.
Musk delivered his speech while X CEO Linda Yaccarino sat in the crowd. Yaccarino was hired to get big-name marketers to return.
Musk also stated in a long-winded talk that he had no difficulty being despised, “Hate away,” he said. “There’s a real weakness to wanting to be liked.
Clad in a leather jacket, black jeans leather boots, and a necklace given to him by a family member of an Israeli hostage that says “bring them home,” Musk added that it’s been “a hell of a year,” and admitted that he sometimes says “the wrong thing.”
Following Musk’s apparent promotion of an antisemitic conspiracy theory favoured by White nationalists, a number of notable corporations halted their advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter, this month.
Media corporations such as Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Comcast, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN, were among those that left advertising.
But he also said that his anti-Semitic post was “the worst” he’d ever done.
“I mean, look, I’m sorry for that … post,” he said. “It was foolish of me. Of the 30,000 it might be literally the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done. And I’ve tried my best to clarify six ways from Sunday, but you know at least I think it’ll be obvious that in fact far from being antisemitic, I’m in fact philosemitic.”
Musk visited Israel this week, visiting a Kibbutz that was stormed by Hamas on October 7, speaking with relatives of Israeli captives, and meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.
But Musk said on Wednesday that his trip to Israel “wasn’t an apology tour,” and that “it wasn’t in response to all of that.” Musk said that he is a good person but he’s not going to “tap dance” to show people that, reported CNN.
On Monday, Musk told Netanyahu of the recent attacks that “those who are intent to murder must be neutralised; then the propaganda must stop that is training people to be murderers in the future; and then making Gaza prosperous. If that happens, I think it’ll be a good future…. I’d love to help.”
However, in a separate talk at the DealBook Summit, Herzog expressed doubt that Musk would maintain consistency in his approach.
“We had an open and frank conversation which I found interesting and I think it was mutually beneficial to both of us,” said Herzog. “I sincerely hope that we will see some of [his activism against antisemitism] in the near future.”
Musk and AI Musk was also questioned about the recent drama at OpenAI, where CEO Sam Altman was unexpectedly sacked by the board earlier this month, only to return to his role a few days later – with a mostly new board. The corporation hasn’t stated anything about why the leadership change occurred.
According to Musk, one of the company’s founders, either Altman had a significant problem and should have been dismissed, or the board was mistaken and should quit.
“The ring of power can corrupt,” he said of Altman. “I’m quite concerned that there’s some… dangerous element of AI,” he speculated. AI, he said, can be more dangerous “than an nuclear bomb.”
He also chastised OpenAI for failing to live up to his idea of an open-source enterprise. “Super closed source for maximum profit AI,” he suggests renaming OpenAI.
What started as an apology for anti-Semitic comments evolved into a rambling discussion on childhood trauma, aliens, cellphones in people’s minds, and using X in the bathroom. A large section of the audience left before the conversation had officially concluded.