Elon Musk is facing backlash from the business community after he appeared to endorse an antisemitic post on X.
On Wednesday, Musk, who has been criticized for allowing antisemitic content to proliferate on X, responded “you have said the actual truth” to a post that made sweeping statements accusing Jewish people of hatred against white people and that echoed the “great replacement” conspiracy theory.
The theory, to which many white supremacists subscribe, in part contends that Jewish people are attempting to reduce the white population in the US by supporting nonwhite immigrants. It was referenced by the gunman who killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 and by the Buffalo mass shooter last year.
As the tweet was brought to public attention on Thursday, the backlash was swift, with some Tesla investors and other tech leaders taking to social media to criticize Musk’s comment, demand he step down, and announce they are getting rid of their Teslas.
“I call on Elon Musk to resign,” Asana and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskowitz said on Wednesday. “(from everything),” he later added.
Musk — who is the richest person on the world with a net worth of $225 billion, according to Bloomberg’s latest calculations — currently has his hand in six companies. Most notably, he is the CEO of Tesla and rocket manufacturer SpaceX, as well as the owner of X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Elon’s antisemitism is still shocking,” tech entrepreneur Marc Bodnick said.
“Take my car back,” notorious short seller Andrew Left wrote. “It is not as good as the BMW anyways.”
Of note were a number prominent Tesla investors criticizing Musk’s remarks, though the noise has not appeared to affect Tesla’s stock: It was outpacing the broader market, rising by about 0.75% in mid-afternoon trade Friday — and remains up by more than 9% over the last five days.
Still, longtime Tesla bull and investor Ross Gerber announced his plans to replace his Model Y with a Rivian as a result of Musk’s comment.
“I’ve never had this with any company I’ve invested in in my entire life, where the CEO does so many detrimental things that destroy the brand, because bottom line that’s what’s happening,” he said on CNBC.
While he added that he’s not planning on selling his personal shares of the company, he said he was fielding more demands than ever from clients wishing to divest from the EV company.
Another Tesla bull, Gary Black, whose Future Fund invests in Tesla, similarly reported that clients had reached out to him regarding Musk’s comments. He did add, though, that his fund remains committed to the company.
Kristin Hull, who run Nia Impact Capital, has previously used her social impact fund’s position in Tesla to pressure the company. Now, Nia is calling for Tesla’s board to censure, demote, suspend, remove, or reassign Musk.
“The impact of erratic, racist, and antisemitic speech from a CEO directly affects Tesla’s brand and bottom line in significant ways,” the fund posted to its LinkedIn page.
On Thursday, IBM pulled its advertising from the platform after Media Matters reported that IBM’s ads — as well as those from a number of other major companies like Apple, Oracle, and Bravo — were reportedly placed alongside pro-Nazi posts.
While the backlash escalates, Musk’s chosen X CEO Linda Yaccarino is left to clean up the growing mess.
“When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination,” she posted on Thursday.
It remains to be seen if her damage control is enough to clean up, or at least contain, the mess.
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