Disney’s decision to suspend advertising with X follows a report by the watchdog group Media Matters, which found that ads for brands like Apple, Bravo, and Amazon had appeared on X next to white nationalist hashtags such as #WLM (White Lives Matter) or #KeepEuropeWhite.
Following this reporting, X advertisers Apple, Lionsgate, Comcast/NBCUniversal, and IBM decided to sever ties with the platform, according to Axios. In a statement, IBM said it has “zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
Concern over brand safety on X has spiked following antisemitic comments made by Musk, who on Wednesday replied to a post from an X user claiming that Jews promote “dialectical hatred against whites” by saying it was “the actual truth.” The post Musk endorsed echoed the Great Replacement Theory, a racist and antisemitic conspiracy theory that posits that Jews are responsible for driving non-white people into the United States to “replace” whites. The theory has prompted a number of racist and antisemitic attacks, including the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue attack and the 2022 Buffalo supermarket mass shooting that killed 10 people.
Musk then doubled down on his statement, saying Jews’ promotion of “anti-white racism” “does not extend to all Jewish communities, but it is also not just limited to [the Anti-Defamation League],” the non-profit organization combatting antisemitism. Musk has previously threatened to sue the ADL after it released a May report accusing the platform of turning a blind eye to “virulent anti-Semitism” by reinstating known antisemitic and white nationalist accounts.
The billionaire has repeatedly denied that he is antisemitic, saying in a post responding to the ADL that he is “pro free speech, but against anti-Semitism of any kind.” X CEO Linda Yaccarino has also repeatedly tried to reassure advertisers and users that the platform does not tolerate hate speech against Jews or any other minorities, stating in a tweet on Nov. 16, “When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
Yaccarino’s post prompted widespread mockery on X. “I’m not really seeing the fight against antisemitism on the website owned by a man who regularly agrees with posts saying Jews are bad,” one reply read.