X CEO addresses Musk’s ‘go f— yourself’ comment to advertisers

Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, speaking with CNBC’s Sara Eisen on Aug. 10, 2023.


X CEO Linda Yaccarino addressed the explicit comments Elon Musk hurled at advertisers during what she called a “wide ranging” and “candid” interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the 2023 DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday. 

“If somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising? Blackmail me with money? Go f— yourself. Go. F—. Yourself. Is that clear?” X owner and CTO Musk said during the interview.

Yaccarino described Musk’s comments as an “explicit point of view about our position.”

“We’re a platform that allows people to make their own decisions,” Yaccarino wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, late Wednesday night. “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.”

Disney, Apple, IBM, Comcast, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global and Lions Gate Entertainment pulled ads from X earlier in November after Musk said he agreed with a social media post accusing “Jewish communities” of pushing “hatred against whites.” His comments drew condemnation from the White House, which blasted Musk for promoting “antisemitic and racist hate.”

During the interview, Musk called out Disney CEO Bob Iger, who also spoke at DealBook, and said “Hi, Bob!”

Yaccarino was hired as X’s CEO in May. She was previously the global advertising chief of NBCUniversal. She has been tasked with bringing advertisers back to X following Musk’s takeover of the company in 2022. In August, she said brands were returning to the platform and should feel comfortable placing ads.

Musk apologized for his inflammatory comments on X during the interview and told Sorkin that a particular post, where agreed with an antisemitic conspiracy theory, was “one of the most foolish if not the most foolish thing I’ve ever done on the platform.”

“I’m sorry for that tweet or post,” he said.

X responded to CNBC’s request for comment with an automated response. Disney, Apple and IBM did not immediately respond.

— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

Disclosure: Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC.


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