Tech billionaire Elon Musk insisted Wednesday that his trip to Israel was not an “apology tour” amid the backlash he received for endorsing an antisemitic social media post, for which he expressed regret.
“Well, the trip to Israel is independent of — it wasn’t something like [an] apology tour,” Musk told The New York Times’s Andrew Sorkin at the Dealbook Summit. Musk returned from his trip to Israel earlier this week, where he toured the Kfar Aza kibbutz, which is where Hamas fighters led a deadly Oct. 7 assault on Israeli civilians.
Sorkin pressed Musk on the post that he engaged with on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that sparked a wave of criticism after he appeared to endorse an antisemitic post earlier this month. An X user claimed Jews have been encouraging “dialectical hatred against whites” and referenced the “hordes of minorities that support flooding their country.” Musk then responded to the post, calling it “the actual truth.”
This claim echoes an antisemitic conspiracy theory that accuses Jews of wanting to flood Western countries with nonwhite immigrants. Musk later said that claims he is antisemitic “couldn’t be farther from the truth.”
When discussing the criticism he is facing over the post, Musk said he “has no problem being hated.” He did appear to express regret for the post, saying that “in retrospect,” he would “not have replied to that particular post.”
“And essentially, I handed a loaded gun to those who hate me, and arguably to those who are antisemitic, and for that I am quite sorry,” he said, adding “that was not my intention.”
Days after Musk’s initial post sparked backlash, liberal watchdog Media Matters for America reported that it found ads for companies including Apple, Bravo, Oracle, Xfinity and IBM placed next to posts celebrating Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party on X. This prompted a handful of companies, including Disney and Apple, to pull their ads from the platform.
Musk decided to sue Media Matters in response. When asked Wednesday about companies pulling their ad spending from the platform, the X owner accused them of attempting to blackmail him in an expletive response.
“Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try and blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f— yourself,” he said.
He was responding to Disney CEO Bob Iger’s previous comments during the summit, where he explained why the entertainment giant pulled its ad spending from X.
“Go f— yourself, is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel: don’t advertise,” Musk continued.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.