Elon Musk threatens to sue media watchdog Media Matters

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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

Elon Musk, facing criticism, has issued a threat to sue the media watchdog Media Matters and those who targeted his social media platform X. This comes after several major U.S. companies suspended advertising on the site due to its association with antisemitic content. Musk and X have been scrutinized throughout the week for the proliferation of antisemitic and racist content on the platform since Musk acquired it in 2022.

Media Matters for America reported earlier in the week that ads from companies like IBM and Apple were placed alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Musk, who endorsed an antisemitic post on X, drew condemnation, including from the White House.

In response, Musk announced on X that X Corp would file a lawsuit against Media Matters and those involved in the alleged attack on his company. Numerous companies, including IBM, Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, Comcast, Lions Gate Entertainment, and Paramount Global, suspended ads in the past few days. Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, was reported to do the same.

Musk accused Media Matters of misrepresenting the X experience to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers. Media Matters, in turn, called Musk a “bully” and asserted that they would win if he pursued legal action.

This follows a pattern of Musk threatening legal action against other parties in the past, including the Anti-Defamation League, without following through. Advertisers have been leaving X since Musk’s acquisition in 2022, leading to increased hate speech, according to civil rights groups.

The White House condemned Musk’s endorsement of what it termed a “hideous” antisemitic conspiracy theory, criticizing it as an “abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate” contrary to American core values. Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla, faces lawsuits alleging widespread racial or sexual harassment of workers at the electric carmaker.

Antisemitism has been on the rise in the United States and globally, with a nearly 400% increase in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in October 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

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