Fallout From Musk’s Endorsement of Antisemitic Post Spreads

(Bloomberg) — Fallout from an Elon Musk post endorsing antisemitic views continues to spread, with Tesla Inc. investors criticizing the billionaire and more advertisers fleeing his social media platform X.

The European Commission on Friday joined International Business Machines Corp. in announcing its decision to stop advertising on the service formerly known as Twitter, after Musk affirmed a post accusing Jewish communities of hating white people. Tesla shares fell 3.8% on Thursday, trailing the benchmark S&P 500 Index, which was little changed.

“I’ve just never had this with any company I’ve ever invested in, ever in my life, where the CEO of the company himself does so many detrimental things,” Ross Gerber, co-founder and chief executive officer of wealth-management firm Gerber Kawasaki Inc., said on CNBC. “It’s destroying the brand.”

Kristin Hull, founder and chief executive officer of Nia Impact Capital, said she was “appalled” by Musk’s posts. The social-impact fund owned about $282,200 of Tesla stock as of midyear and has waged pressured campaigns against the company for years, including via shareholder resolutions.

“The impact of erratic, racist, and antisemitic speech from a CEO directly affects Tesla’s brand and bottom line in significant ways,” Hull wrote in an email Thursday. She said an appropriate response to Musk’s actions may include censure by Tesla’s board, demotion, re-assignment, suspension or removal.

Read More: IBM Suspends X Ads After Report of Placement Near Nazi Posts

The European Commission advised staff to stop adverting on X due to “an alarming increase in disinformation and hate speech,” it said in a statement on Friday, which didn’t specifically cite Musk’s posts. The move was initially reported by Politico.

Media Matters released a report Thursday showing ads for IBM, Apple Inc., Oracle Corp., Comcast Corp.’s Xfinity brand, and the Bravo television network, which is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, running on X next to pro-Nazi posts.

“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,” a company spokesperson said in an email, citing the Media Matters report.

Comcast is looking into the matter, a spokesperson said. Apple and Oracle didn’t respond to requests for comment. IBM’s decision was reported earlier by the Financial Times.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, also head of project-management software maker Asana Inc., said X CEO Linda Yaccarino should ask Musk, who serves as the company’s chief technology officer, to resign.

“Yaccarino faces her biggest test yet as she decides whether to terminate her antisemitic CTO or risk losing even more advertisers,” he wrote on Threads, another social media site. “How will she handle this tricky, yet morally unambiguous situation?”

A representative for X didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk didn’t respond to a request for comment.

—With assistance from Todd Shields, Jillian Deutsch and Craig Trudell.

(Updates with comments from investor and European Commission starting in second paragraph.)

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