Major advertisers are pausing their ad campaigns on Elon Musk’s social media platform X, including Disney, which has Wish in the works on its release calendar for Nov. 22. Lionsgate also said that it would be pulling its ads from the platform, just as its Hunger Games prequel is hitting movie theaters.
Warner Bros. Discovery said Friday evening that it would be pausing its campaigns on the platform. Paramount and Sony Pictures also followed suit in halting spending.
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Comcast NBCUniversal was the latest company to pause advertising on the site, which is particularly significant as X CEO Linda Yaccarino left the company to join X.
The move by Hollywood studios follows IBM pulling ads from the platform, in light of a new report from nonprofit Media Matters for America released Thursday, which found that the platform was placing ads for companies such as “Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle and Xfinity (Comcast) next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.”
“IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation,” the company said.
Additionally, Axios reported that Apple was pausing its ad buys on the platform on Friday afternoon.
The pause by Disney and Apple is particularly troubling for the platform, given that Musk himself said earlier this year that those two companies were among its largest advertisers and thanked them for their continued spending.
Musk, early Saturday morning on X, wrote that “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.”
The company also published a blog post titled “Stand with X to protect free speech” in which it accused Media Matters of misrepresenting its findings.
The decisions from advertisers also come after a post from Musk on Wednesday that many have criticized as being antisemitic.
Musk replied to another user on X, formerly known as Twitter, who said, “I’m deeply disinterested in giving the tiniest shit now about western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don’t exactly like them too much.” In response, Musk said, “you have said the actual truth.”
The White House has also come out against the reported proliferation of antisemitic content on the platform, saying in a statement Friday: “We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans.”
X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has been trying to win advertisers back to the platform, defended the company’s position in a tweet Thursday saying: “X’s point of view has always been very clear that discrimination by everyone should STOP across the board — I think that’s something we can and should all agree on. 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, who previously led the advertising divisions at NBCUniversal and Turner Broadcasting, joined X (back when it was called Twitter) earlier this year as its CEO. Musk stayed on to lead its product and technology, though it has been his public comments on the platform that seem to have become an issue with marketers.
While Musk has outlined a vision in which X becomes an “everything app,” with dating services, live video, financial transactions and other offerings, the company remains heavily reliant on advertising revenue, so the departure of major marketers is likely to only intensify pressure on the company’s finances.
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