Quirky billionaire Elon Musk (pictured) delivered a foul-mouthed rant at advertisers which halted spending on his social media company X, insisting he did not want such companies to return to the platform if he was going to be blackmailed.
Speaking at The New York Times (NYT) Dealbook Summit, Musk addressed a recent exodus of big names including Apple, Comcast, IBM and The Walt Disney Company from X, stating the advertising boycott would kill the business.
“This is what everybody on earth will know. We’ll be gone and it’ll be gone because of an advertiser boycott.”
However, in bullish defiance, he also said: “I hope they stop. Don’t advertise. If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f*** yourself. Go f*** yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
The comments were met by silence from the summit’s audience, which included X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who later defended Musk on the platform.
Musk also appeared to single out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who had earlier stated at the same event he did not want to be affiliated with the billionaire.
X has been hit with an advertiser backlash after Musk appeared to support an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in a post on the platform earlier this month.
The latest ado adds to the loss of many brands after the billionaire took control of the company in October 2022.
Musk said in July advertising revenue had halved since he bought the company, leaving it with negative cash flow and a heavy debt load.
Citing leaked internal documents, NYT reported X could lose as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the year-end due to the latest exodus.
During the interview, Musk apologised for his post about anti-Semitism, describing it as “perhaps one of the most foolish, if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform”.