Go f*** yourself,' Elon Musk tells the advertisers he says X can't live without

Elon Musk infront of a blue background at the DealBook Summit
(Image credit: Slaven Vlasic / Stringer / Getty Images)

In a strange and viral interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the NYT DealBook conference on Wednesday, Space X and Tesla mogul Elon Musk said that the advertising boycott currently plaguing X is going to “kill the company” if they don’t return, shortly after he told those same advertisers “go f*** yourself.”

In a widely shared moment during the 90-minute conversation, Musk was asked about the public perception that he was on some sort of “apology tour” following his recent endorsement of an anti-semitic post on the platform which has caused a cascade of major companies, including Apple, to withdraw their advertising from the platform.

“I hope they stop,” Musk interjected. “Don’t advertise.” Clearly taken aback, Sorkin asked him what he meant, to which Musk replied “If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f*** yourself… Go f*** yourself! Is that clear? I hope it is.” In case it wasn’t clear, he then yelled “Hey Bob”, a jest at Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which recently withdrew its adverts from the platform formerly known as Twitter and has given no thought to when they might return.  

Here lies Twitter - iMore’s take 

Obviously even more taken aback, Sorkin pressed Musk on the economics of X and that stance, whereupon Musk repeated the letters “G, F, Y,” before casually admitting that “this advertising boycott is going to kill the company.” Musk went on to state that the whole world would know it was those advertisers that killed the company, and that people would document it “in great detail.”

Sorkin pointed out that advertisers would likely say that he had killed the company, having generated a platform they no longer felt comfortable advertising on, to which he replied “Let’s see how Earth feels about that.”

Musk’s comments ring more like the ramblings of a madman than the considered rhetoric of a CEO. Perhaps more interestingly, Musk almost seems to relish the prospect that an advertising boycott might indeed kill X, as though he and his platform might become the ultimate victims in this story. Certainly, his musings on stage and barb at Iger do not portray Musk as a CEO actually concerned about the demise of his company, which he seems to think is imminent. 

Tasked with damage limitation, CEO Linda Yaccarino took to X in the wake of the interview to say that X is “a platform that allows people to make their own decision” and one that stands “ at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street” for advertisers. As one commenter noted, “‘go f*** yourselves’ is certainly a clear position but I wouldn't call it a classic apology.” 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • naddy69
    "Musk’s comments ring more like the ramblings of a madman than the considered rhetoric of a CEO."

    That's because they ARE the ramblings of a madman. It seems like Musk and Trump share the same tiny brain. Both have routine public tantrums and meltdowns. Both are supreme narcissists and incredible blowhards.

    I would not spend any more money on X/Twitter/whatever either. With any luck X will shutdown and Musk might - just might - learn a very valuable lesson.

    But I doubt he will learn anything. Neither will Trump when he lands in jail. Both will continue to blame others.
    Reply
  • SvenJ
    Suppose he bought it for the tax write-off when it fails, and just hasn't been able to kill it...not for trying.
    Reply
  • Just_Me_D
    The author forgot to mention that Musk was referring to advertisers who were trying to blackmail him.
    Reply
  • Lee_Bo
    You lost me at “Elon”.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    Pulling your advertising because Musk is insane is not "blackmail".
    Reply
  • Just_Me_D
    naddy69 said:
    Pulling your advertising because Musk is insane is not "blackmail".

    I did not say that it was. I posted the reason provided by Musk that was omitted in the article. Furthermore, Musk is not insane. You do not achieve his level of success and maintain it by being insane.

    If you don’t like the guy, fine. If you hate the guy. Fine. If you dislike his views and the way his does business. Fine. Labeling the man as being insane is insane… ;)
    Reply
  • garypageau
    Elon Musk is far from insane. He is, however, willing to live or die by his principles. The rest of the discussion hasn't been promoted as much as his "f-off" comments. Beyond that, he mentioned X would not be beholden to advertisers, a stance more media outlets should support.
    Reply
  • naddy69
    I don't care about him one way or the other. But going on a national interview and telling advertisers to F off is not a sign of rational CEO thinking.
    Reply
  • EdwinG
    naddy69 said:
    not a sign of rational CEO thinking.
    He is not a CEO. He’s the whatever of Twitter; at this point in time, I will call him owner?

    The CEO is Linda Y.
    Reply
  • Wotchered
    Elon's not crazy, you can't manipulate a cascade of non profitable companies to your own benefit if you're crazy.
    Reply