X Enters the Death Spiral
This article was originally published on my Substack, Trend Mill.
Giving Elon Musk more airtime causes a dilemma within me. I don’t think he deserves it, and I don’t want to contribute in even the smallest way to feeding his ego. After all, press is what he wants, and we’re all far too quick to give it to him.
But, when the CEO of a multibillion-dollar company tells his main source of revenue to “go fuck themselves”, it’s hard not to resist the temptation to throw in my two cents.
Speaking at the DealBook conference on Wednesday evening, Musk began with the usual nervous laughter and self-deprecating jokes about himself and his companies. But then, either the Ketamine kicked in, or Musk had a brain fart that temporarily erased his memory, causing him to forget he is the CEO of a multibillion-dollar social media platform. When asked by host Andrew Ross Sorkin about recent antisemitic posts on X and whether his company can survive the advertiser boycott, he went turbo;
“I hope they stop. Don’t advertise. If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
It didn’t stop there. He then directed the threat at Disney CEO Bob Iger (Disney recently pulled its ad spending on X), waving and saying, “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience.”
It was absolute, pure and utter cringe, nothing short of embarrassing. The edge-lord throwing his toys out the pram because advertisers don’t want to be associated with anti-semitism and a platform that’s descending into an alt-right white male fan club.
Try as he might with the bravado to display an appearance of confidence — he appeared to be channeling his inner Tony Stark as played by Robert Downey Jr — he’s rattled. The consequences of the ad boycott are serious; Musk admitted so. When Sorkin asked how the business would be affected if advertisers didn’t return, he stated,
“It’s going to kill the company. The whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company, and we’ll document it in great detail. That is…