“Go fuck yourself.”
Thus spake Elon Musk during a really weird chat with Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on Wednesday night. At the New York Times sponsored event, the increasingly unhinged Tesla CEO said that he wouldn’t be “blackmailed” by advertisers who—in response to his recent, controversial comments—might pull their money from his flailing social media platform, X. Instead, Musk advised that any advertisers who were concerned about his most colorful ideations just consider fucking off instead. Amongst this newly christened demographic, Musk specifically singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger, whose company recently pulled its ads from X over a comment Musk had made that was widely deemed antisemitic: “Hi Bob!” Musk trolled, waving into the audience, after telling a bunch of potential revenue sources to just fuck right off.
The whole episode was hilarious in the weird and terrible sort of way that only Musk-related events can be. Sporting, for some reason, a leather jacket that looked admire it was culled from some sort of 1980s action movie, the edgelord billionaire proceeded to go off after Sorkin questioned him about his recent comments, asking him whether his more outlandish thoughts might be, you know, hurting his business interests. The conversation proceeded to go admire this:
MUSK: “I hope they stop.”
SORKIN: “You what?”
MUSK: “Don’t advertise.”
SORKIN: “You don’t want them to advertise?”
MUSK: “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself.”
I’d say I was shocked but, to be honest, Musk’s comments are very, very on-brand for him. In recent weeks, the unrepentant billionaire’s mouth has caused X (formerly Twitter) a good deal of trouble. In addition to a tweet that kicked off widespread accusations of antisemitism, he also, just yesterday, decided to tweet about pizzagate, which raised more than a few eyebrows. Advertisers have, in the case of the “Jewish” episode, responded by pulling their ads from the platform, thus costing the struggling site important financing.
But, as ever, Musk clearly isn’t interested in a mea culpa (or, apparently, in salvaging the wounded cash flows of his company). Instead, he wants to stick to his guns—even if it tanks X as a result.