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Elon Musk Tells Advertisers ‘Go F—k Yourself’ in Unhinged 90-Minute Interview

Elon Musk at the 2023 DealBook Summit

You can say a lot of unhinged things in 90 minutes. Elon Musk proved as much on Wednesday at the New York Times‘ annual DealBook Summit, where the Tesla CEO and X overlord took the stage for a lengthy chat in which he trashed labor unions, addressed his antisemitic tweets (sort of?), and told the advertisers who dropped support of X to “go fuck yourself.”

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Musk, the world’s largest and richest teenage movie villain from 1993, was predictably obnoxious when addressing a range of topics with Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC. Sorkin, it must be noted, is astonishingly patient. I can’t spend more than 90 seconds listening to this sentient tube sock willed into existence by 4Chan edgelords, let alone 90 whole minutes (and then some). It’s a masterclass in the sort of restraint I simply could not have when confronted by a leather jacket stuffed with Miracle Whip and trained on South Park scripts.

Of all the shit Musk said during their chat—and he said a lot of shit—there were a few particularly notable comments. On the subject of labor unions, Musk played the “I know you are but what am I?” card, claiming they create a “lords and peasants” dynamic and “naturally try to create negativity” in the workplace. You know, unlike Musk, who famously forced workers to return to the office under threat of losing their jobs and has repeatedly violated labor laws.

Musk also sorta-kinda addressed his endorsement of antisemitic and racist content on X (formerly Twitter), where he recently shared and commented on a tweet accusing “Jewish communities” of promoting “hatred against whites.” He also said the Anti-Defamation League “unjustly attacks the majority of the West because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat.” Musk called the tweets “one of the most foolish if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform,” gesturing at a can of big grubby worms no one—except for this Sorkin guy, maybe—has the time to get into.

In response to Musk’s antisemitic and racist statements, several major corporations, including Apple, Disney, and IBM, pulled ads from X, a social platform that—like most websites on god’s green internet—relies on advertising to generate revenue.

When Sorkin asked about losing advertisers, Musk said, “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear?” He then gave a shout out to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who was also in attendance. “The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail,” Musk said, insinuating that the social media platform he has turned into a hostile hellscape for anyone who doesn’t look and act and think like Musk is performing a valuable public service. “That is what everybody on Earth will know,” he added—an extremely normal thing for this very normal man to say.

The best part of this segment of the interview is when Musk acts as if Twitter/X dying is a bad thing, and that all of planet Earth will be mad at the big, evil corporations for destroying it with their pesky advertising boycott—when, in actuality, it would be one of the few times in living memory that large corporations actually did something good with all of that money for once.

Musk also took a little trip to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which he claims was already planned and had nothing to do with apologizing for being antisemitic in public. According to Musk, Netanyahu wants to “deradicalize” and “rebuild” Gaza, and Musk is going to help. See? He’s not antisemitic as long as there is some financial incentive and the opportunity to expand his business operations.

Lest you think Elon Musk is little more than a paper bag puppet crudely constructed by a five-year-old with unresolved anger and operated by the Ghosts of Capitalism Past, Present, and Future, I’ll leave you with this: On the subject of AI, Musk said he’s also troubled by the technology. “I’m quite concerned that there’s some dangerous element of AI that they’ve discovered,” Musk said, noting that he’s been having a hard time sleeping because of it. Maybe there is a tiny human trapped in this guy’s noggin after all, like that little alien guy in Men in Black 2.

(featured image: Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images for The New York Times)

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Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.

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