Has Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and the owner of X/Twitter, finally gone too far? The Tesla CEO’s relaxation of content moderation on the social-media platform has been well documented, with hate speech, including anti-semitism, surging under his ownership. But for Musk himself to agree with comments about Jews exhibiting hatred toward white people? The White House, in a rare move, directly rebuked the tech mogul.
In remarks directed at Musk by name and posted to his comment, the White House called out the world’s most powerful businessman. “It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of anti-Semitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” wrote deputy press secretary Andrew Bates on Friday.
The White House was referring to Musk’s post lending credence to what is known as Great Replacement Theory. This espouses the notion that Caucasian Americans are in imminent danger of being marginalized amid rising numbers of minorities, Jews included. Closely identified with the alt-right, this theory sparked the deadly shooting at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue five years ago, the deadliest single day ever for American Jews, as well as at a Buffalo supermarket last year. Of course, Musk’s comments come against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war and the events of Oct. 7 in Gaza, the deadliest day for Jews worldwide since the Holocaust.
— Herbie Ziskend (@HerbieZiskend46) November 17, 2023
The controversy began on Wednesday, after a user claimed that, since Jews have been “pushing” a kind of “dialectical hatred against whites,” then western Jewish populations were somehow undeserving of sympathy. Musk chose to respond to the presumed total stranger by writing: “You have said the actual truth.”
The Tesla CEO’s strident political views have graduated from complaining about Netflix over its “woke” programming to calling George Soros a supervillain bent on the “destruction of western civilization.” A day after his comments about Soros, a prominent Jewish financier who has been the subject of vicious conspiracy theories and who survived the Holocaust as a young man in Hungary, Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him, “I’m against antisemitism. I’m against anything that promotes hate and conflict.”
Since then, Musk has been cozying up to Hungary’s now isolated hardliner Viktor Orban over a shared interest in promoting higher European birth rates, and has toured the southern U.S. border to warn about an invasion of illegal migrants.
White House urges Musk to use his influence to heal divisions
Musk’s endorsement of an overtly anti-semitic post is only the latest instance suggesting he may be spending too much time listening to Tucker Carlson. The sacked Fox News host regularly frets about whites being replaced by minorities and now uses Musk’s X as his new exclusive platform. The Tesla CEO routinely amplifies Carlson’s reach by retweeting episodes to his 160 million followers.
Only later did Musk clarify that his remark he was not directed at “all Jewish communities” but rather just those that themselves are guilty of propagating anti-white racism and all other forms of racial discrimination.
Meanwhile, the august tech firm IBM pulled all of its advertising from X in the aftermath of Musk’s post, and after seeing a Media Matters report that Musk’s lax content moderation was featuring them next to pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler 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,” the company said in a statement.
The CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino, is scrambling to reassure advertisers that Musk’s social media platform is a safe place for their brands and to minimize IBM’s defection.
After admonishing the Tesla CEO, Biden’s White House had one final recommendation to the entrepreneur—not only should Musk avoid stoking divisions in society, he should use his influence to calm them and heal the rifts that opened up across the country.
“We all have a responsibility to bring people together against hate,” Bates continued, “and an obligation to speak out against anyone who attacks the dignity of their fellow Americans and compromises the safety of our communities.”