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Elon Musk, under fire, threatens lawsuit against media watchdog

Published Nov 18, 2023 03:06AM ET Updated Nov 18, 2023 01:05PM ET
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© Reuters. Tesla, X (formerly known as Twitter) and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk speaks with members of the media during the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in Bletchley, Britain on November 1, 2023. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
 
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(Reuters) -Elon Musk threatened on Saturday to sue media watchdog Media Matters and those who attacked his social media platform X, following moves by several large U.S. companies to halt advertising on the site after being promoted alongside antisemitic content.

Musk and X have been under a microscope all week for antisemitic and racist content that has proliferated on the site since he purchased it in 2022.

Liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America said earlier this week that it found ads from IBM (NYSE:IBM), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and others were placed alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Musk on Wednesday endorsed an antisemitic post on X that falsely claimed members of the Jewish community were stoking hatred against white people, drawing sharp condemnation, including from the White House.

"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," Musk wrote in a post on X, without naming any other parties.

Numerous companies suspended ads in the last two days, including IBM, Disney, Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ:WBD) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Lions Gate Entertainment and Paramount Global. Axios reported that Apple, the world's largest company by market value, would do the same.

"This week Media Matters for America posted a story that completely misrepresented the real experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers," a statement posted by Musk said. He accused Media Matters of creating an alternative account designed to "misinform advertisers" about their posts.

Media Matters on Saturday said Musk was a "bully" who threatens "meritless lawsuits".

"Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified," Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement.

"If he does sue us, we will win."

Musk has threatened legal action against other parties in the past, most specifically the Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that fights antisemitism, blaming it for X's loss of ad revenue. He has not yet sued the ADL, however.

Advertisers have fled the site since Musk bought it in October 2022 and reduced content moderation, resulting in a sharp rise in hate speech, according to civil rights groups.

The White House on Friday condemned Musk's endorsement of what it called a "hideous" antisemitic conspiracy theory, and accused Musk of an "abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate" that "runs against our core values as Americans".

Musk is also CEO of electric carmaker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), which has been hit by several lawsuits that allege rampant racial or sexual harassment of workers.

Antisemitism has been on the rise in recent years in the United States and worldwide. Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which attacked Israel on Oct. 7, antisemitic incidents in the United States rose by nearly 400% from the year-earlier period, the ADL said.

Elon Musk, under fire, threatens lawsuit against media watchdog
 

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Comments (23)
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Nov 20, 2023 3:24PM ET
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The "split second" court opens has come and gone and no suit by Musk. I hope he's okay.
Grant Edwards
Grant Edwards Nov 20, 2023 4:52AM ET
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Elon showing he cares about others, undoubtedly ruined a lot of families’ weekends by promising his lawyers would have a complaint ready to file Monday 8am.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Nov 19, 2023 9:23AM ET
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Will the Musk fanboys come back here for mockery when Musk pulls the rug on this threat?
Darren Caris
DJC1 Nov 19, 2023 9:23AM ET
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why are you in here? are you just a foil working for the Democrat party?
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Nov 19, 2023 3:13AM ET
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Funny that all those liberal tech companies can go to the big tech convention in Vegas and ritually sell our very personal data they've collected to any criminal, organized crime syndicate, or terrorist organization who's willing to pay their price. But, some nutty advertising is the real evil. Crazy world.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 18, 2023 6:25PM ET
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also.. those who see musk as a champion of free speech, conveniently forget that one of his first acts after taking over twitter was to ban journalists, critical of him...
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 18, 2023 6:25PM ET
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...and that's the real musk. a narcissistic, far-right, authoritarian...
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Nov 18, 2023 6:25PM ET
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You forget he suffers from asperges, he has no feelings.
Darren Caris
DJC1 Nov 18, 2023 6:25PM ET
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ban journalists that were tracking the flights of his kids. you're an investor and you can't figure that out? buy ETFs dude.
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 18, 2023 6:22PM ET
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musk has been sort of a machiavellian figure, and has tried to play both sides by voting for Biden and saying things such as he 'love immigrants', however, his far-right neo-fascist ideology is right under the surface...
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Nov 18, 2023 5:46PM ET
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X- A (former) South African kind of Co. ? Stay tuned.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Nov 18, 2023 4:17PM ET
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Elon was raised in South Africa during its apartheid dictatorship anid It shows in his business practices and hi attitude towards minorities.. he has always wanted free rain to push hos bigotry a racist ideology..
Francis Dagostino
Francis Dagostino Nov 18, 2023 3:46PM ET
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Viva Palestina.
Ali Marwan Alrashidi
Ali Marwan Alrashidi Nov 18, 2023 1:39PM ET
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Elon Musk is a free man who wants freedom of media and publishing. Because of that, an economic war was started by Zionism against him.
Don Getty
Don Getty Nov 18, 2023 1:39PM ET
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elon musk, lives in a world where bigotry is not accepted practice and will be held accountable - just like hamas is being held accountable by Iran - murderers are hard to defend in public especially when they've broken gods laws
 
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