Elon Musk apologizes for anti-Semitic tweet but tells advertisers to go fuck themselves

New York CNN –

Elon Musk apologized Wednesday for his “stupidest” social media post ever in his first interview with mainstream media since his anti-Semitic post on X earlier this month. But he cracked down heavily on advertisers who left his platform because of rising anti-Semitism on X.

“I don’t want them to advertise,” he said at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York. “If someone wants to blackmail me with advertising or money, then go fuck yourself. Leave. Crap. Yourself,” he said. “Is that clear? “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, I feel the same way,” he added, referring to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who previously spoke at Wednesday’s summit.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Musk’s comments.

Musk made the remark while X CEO Linda Yaccarino sat in the audience. Yaccarino was brought into the company to win back well-known advertising customers.

In a winding conversation that lasted well over an hour, Musk also said he had no problem being hated. “Hate gone,” he said. “The desire to be liked is a real weakness.

03:03 – Source: CNN

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Dressed in a leather jacket, black denim leather boots and a necklace given to him by a family member of an Israeli hostage that reads, “Bring her home,” Musk added that it had been “a hell of a year,” and admitted that he sometimes says “the wrong thing.”

A number of well-known brands stopped advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter, this month after Musk publicly embraced an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory favored by white supremacists.

The advertising exodus included media companies such as Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, Comcast, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN’s parent company.

But he also said that his tweet, which was criticized as anti-Semitic, was possibly “the worst thing” he had ever done.

“I mean, look, I’m sorry for that… post,” he said. “It was stupid of me. Out of the 30,000, it is literally the worst and stupidest post I have ever written. And I tried my best to make six things clear on Sunday, but you know, at least I think it will be obvious that in reality, far from being anti-Semitic, I am philo-Semitic.”

Musk visited Israel this week, where he visited a kibbutz that was attacked by Hamas on Oct. 7, spoke with families of Israeli hostages and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.

But Musk said Wednesday that his trip to Israel was “not an apology tour” and that “it was not a reaction to any of this.” Musk said he’s a good person, but he won’t “tap dance” to show people that.

On Monday, Musk told Netanyahu about the recent attacks: “Those who have murderous intent must be neutralized; then the propaganda that trains people to be murderers in the future must stop; and then make Gaza prosperous. If that happens, I think it will be a good future…. I would like to help.”

But in a separate conversation at the DealBook Summit, Herzog was unsure whether Musk would remain consistent in his messaging.

“We had an open and frank conversation that I found interesting and that I think was mutually beneficial,” Herzog said. “I sincerely hope we see some of these [his activism against antisemitism] in the near future.”

Musk and AI

Musk was also asked about the recent drama at OpenAI, where CEO Sam Altman was suddenly fired by the board earlier this month, only to return to his post just days later – with a largely new board. The company has said little about why the leadership change occurred.

Either Altman had a serious problem and should have been fired, said Musk, one of the company’s founders, or the board was wrong and should resign.

“The ring of power can corrupt,” he said of Altman. “I’m very concerned that there is a…dangerous element to AI,” he speculated. AI could be more dangerous “than a nuclear bomb,” he said.

He also criticized OpenAI for no longer being the open source company he once envisioned. OpenAI should be renamed “Super Closed Source for Maximum Profit AI,” he said.

What started as an apology for anti-Semitic tweets turned into a convoluted conversation about childhood trauma, aliens, cell phones in people’s minds, and using X in the bathroom. A large portion of the room left before the discussion was officially concluded.

This story has been updated with additional developments.