UPDATED, with Media Matters response: Elon Musk has promised to file what he terms a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against progressive media watchdog Media Matters and others, as the list of companies pausing their advertising on his social media platform grows longer.

Musk posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday evening, to say:

“The split second court opens on Monday, X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.”

And he added an explainer of why to stand with X is to stand with free speech.

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement, “Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win.” 

Musk has previously threatened lawsuits against critics but not followed through. In September, when the Anti-Defamation League criticized the platform for increasing anti-semitic and other hate speech, Musk vowed litigation but none was filed. He blamed ADL for an advertising decline of 60%.

Through X/Twitter, Musk did sue another watchdog group, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, for defamation, in a lawsuit last summer. The group filed a motion to dismiss and anti-SLAPP motion on Thursday, contending that the platform had “ginned up baseless claims” taking issue with how the CCDH gathered its data.

“Apparently unhappy with how it is faring in the marketplace of ideas, X Corp. asks this court to shut that marketplace down—to punish the CCDH Defendants for their speech and to silence others who might speak up about X Corp. in the future. Thus, X Corp. seeks ‘at least tens of millions of dollars’ in damages based on how advertisers reacted to what the CCDH Defendants said about X Corp. in their public reports.”

Musk’s latest threat comes after a defining week for the social platform, including:


On Wednesday, Musk endorsed an X/Twitter post in which a user wrote, “Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post pushed the “great replacement theory,” or the claim that Jewish people want to bring non-white undocumented people into western countries to reduce the influence of whites. The convicted killer in the Tree of Life shootings had embraced that theory.

“You have said the actual truth,” Musk responded.

Musk later tried to clarify his post, singling out the Anti-Defamation League as a group that “unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel.”

Media Matters

Media Matters reported on the advertising of major brands appearing next to pro-Nazi content on the platform. Among those cited were IBM, Apple, Comcast Xfinity, Oracle and Bravo. Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, followed up with a new report that names a larger number of brands whose spots have appeared next to white nationalist content.

Brands pause

The list of companies pausing their advertising on the platform grew to include:

Paramount Global
Warner Bros Discovery
The Walt Disney Company

White House

On Friday, the White House joined those condemning the amplification of the anti-semitic trope. “It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” said White House spokesman Andrew Bates.

Bates was referring to the 2018 Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Bates added, “We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans.”

Ted Johnson contributed to this report.


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