TeslaSpaceX and the leader of X Corp. Elon Musk posted a series of undeniably bigoted tweets on Wednesday that drew backlash online.
First, Musk drew attention to and subscribed to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, then directly accused “Jewish communities,” the nonprofit Anti-Defamation League, and minorities of what he called “anti-white” messages and views, without gives examples to support his accusations.
Musk, who is the world’s richest person with a net worth of about $225 billion according to Bloomberg, heads several companies that collectively employ about 150,000 people worldwide, including SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Co., Neuralink, X Corp and his latest AI startup, xAI.
Musk, who has never reserved his social media posts for business-only issues, drew attention to a tweet that said Jews were “pushing the exact kind of dialectical anti-white hate that they claim they want people to stop using against them”.
musk answered to this tweet in emphatic agreement: “You spoke the real truth.”
“This exchange would have languished in obscurity if not for Musk answered to this bigoted bromide,” wrote Yair Rosenberg in The Atlantic.
In response to Musk’s tweet, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), “At a time when anti-Semitism is exploding in America and growing around the world, it is undeniably dangerous to use your influence, to confirm and propagate anti-Semitic theories. #NeverIsNow.”
Among other things, the Jewish-led non-profit organization works to combat anti-Semitic incidents, racist discrimination and hate crimes in the US
After Musk began facing backlash for endorsing the anti-Semitic tweet, he took aim at the ADL more specifically.
He wrote, without providing any evidence for these claims, “The ADL unfairly attacks the majority of the West, even though the majority of the West supports the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, according to their own principles, criticize the minority groups that are their main threat. This is not right and it has to stop.”
CNBC reached out to Musk and X Corp. for comment and to clarify which “minority groups” Musk sees as the “primary threat” to the Jewish people and Israel, but received no comment beyond an apparent auto-reply message that read: “I’m busy now, please check back later late.”
In subsequent tweets, after a follower told Musk he wasn’t honest or fair, the billionaire responded: “You [sic] correct that this does not extend to all Jewish communities, but it is also not limited to the ADL.” He added, “And at the risk of repeating myself, I am deeply offended by the messages of the ADL and all other groups that push de de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind. I’m sick of. Stop it already.”
Musk has long posted inflammatory tweets, and his companies, especially Tesla, have faced lawsuits over alleged civil and worker rights violations. This year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Tesla for racially discriminating and harassing black workers.
Musk has previously threatened to sue the ADL, claiming they tried to “kill” his social network business. He blamed the ADL, not his own business decisions, for a 60 percent drop in X’s revenue and said he had “no choice” but to file a defamation lawsuit against the group. However, no lawsuit has yet been reached.
The ADL declined to offer further comment Thursday morning.
Hate crime expert Brian Levin, who is a professor emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino, told CNBC that law enforcement is already tracking a generational rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes in North America and elsewhere. He said: “Elon Musk is piling on the neo-Nazi Jew-hatred for being anti-white by invoking immigration, just like the convicted murderer did in the Tree of Life massacre.” As a result, anti-Semitic incidents and crimes may increase even more.
“Notorious anti-Semites are celebrating what they see as Musk’s complete reversal of blatant expressions of Jew-hatred. When we saw similar statements from Yeh last October, anti-Jewish hate crimes jumped across the country,” Levin said.
Meredith Benton of Whistle Stop Capital told CNBC that the move could affect Musk’s business interests.
“For Mr. Musk to amplify this type of rhetoric on Twitter shows his disinterest in turning this platform into a positive business; I expect many enterprise advertisers who have decided to stay on Twitter are now looking at their last straw.”
Benton added, “It appears, unfortunately, that current management may be the source, not the solution, of the harassment and discrimination issues we’ve seen at Tesla factories. Tesla investors (a majority in 2022 if you exclude Elon’s stock) have already made it clear that they are deeply concerned about allegations of racism and retaliation at Tesla’s factories, along with the company’s continued use of cover-up clauses. This will be very interesting proxy season; there’s no investor sideline where the CEO decides to be so polarizing.”