X CEO Does Damage Control After Musk Tells Advertisers ‘Go F Yourself’ newsbhunt


Linda Yaccarino, who’s already facing an uphill battle in winning over advertisers to X, has her work cut out for her to restore trust with big marketers after her boss profanely dissed those who had suspended advertising from the platform.

Almost six months into her gig as CEO of X, Yaccarino continues to try to clean up PR messes created by Elon Musk, the shoot-from-the-lip megabillionaire and self-appointed defender of free speech who owns the company formerly known as Twitter.

Musk, speaking Wednesday at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, accused advertisers who pulled ads from X — over his support of an antisemitic conspiracy theory — of “blackmail” and dropped a couple of F-bombs to underscore his ire. “If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear?” Musk said on stage. He called out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who earlier at the conference had said the tech mogul’s comments made a partnership with X “not necessarily a positive one for us.” Asked about Iger’s comment, Musk said, “Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel — don’t advertise.”

Yaccarino, one month before she accepted Musk’s offer to oversee X/Twitter business operations as CEO, had pressed her soon-to-be-boss at an ad conference to explain whether he had “de-risked” the chance of Twitter advertisers’ campaigns “landing in these awful, hateful places.”

On Wednesday, following Musk’s tirade, she tried to explain what Musk was getting. Echoing his free-speech stance, she posited that “X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people” — a different perspective from Yaccarino’s previous line of questioning about brand safety on Twitter. In a post on the platform, Yaccarino, who previously head NBCUniversal’s ad sales, thanked X’s remaining advertisers who “believe in our meaningful work.” NBCU is among major advertisers who froze spending on X, along with parent company Comcast, Disney, Apple, IBM, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery and Lionsgate.

“Today @elonmusk gave a wide ranging and candid interview at @dealbook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position,” Yaccarino wrote in the post. “X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions. And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you. To our partners who believe in our meaningful work — Thank You.”

Does Yaccarino believe that Disney, NBCU, Apple and others who have halted ad sales should, to paraphrase Musk, take a hike? Undoubtedly, she would love their ad dollars to flow back into X’s coffers. But Musk has perhaps made those fences impossible to mend, in the short term.

Musk did apologize for posting “You have said the actual truth” to a person on X who had in a now-deleted post promoted the conspiracy theory that Jewish communities “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”

“I should have not replied to that particular person,” Musk said at the DealBook Summit, calling it one of the “most foolish” posts he’s ever made on X/Twitter. Musk clarified what he intended to mean: that persecuted groups funded by Jewish organizations were calling for attacks on Jewish people and that “it’s unwise to support groups that want your annihilation.”

But Musk also doubled down on what he sees as a refusal to “bend the knee” to large advertisers — whose boycott, to hear Musk tell it, is serving to stifle free speech. Musk on Thursday commented “Precisely” in response to someone who posted remarks of independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who said in part, “What went wrong here is not what Elon Musk said. It’s so revealing that so many journalists are aghast that anyone would dare tell Disney and major corporations to ‘go fuck yourself’ when they’re trying to limit, censor and control the flow of political content. If you aren’t willing to say that to corporations who are trying to limit what you can say, don’t bother calling yourself a journalist.”


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