In a note she sent to X employees on Sunday night, CEO Linda Yaccarino referred to the watchdog group’s report as “misleading and manipulated” and it resulted in an extensive advertiser pullout.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s note, which Engadget has seen a copy of, stated that while some advertisers may have temporarily halted investments due to an inaccurate article,” the data will tell the real story.” There is no place for antisemitism or discrimination anywhere in the world, so we at X have been very clear about our efforts to combat them. The title of Yaccarino’s letter was” Our Work is Meaningful.”
No critic will ever deter us from our mission to protect free speech, she wrote, adding that the situation was also framed as a freedom of speech issue. She did this by supporting X owner Elon Musk’s repeated assertions that platform freedom is essential. Since he purchased the service last year, Musk has repeatedly dismissed worries that hate speech has grown on X.
Following a report from the watchdog group Media Matters for America finding that some of these brands ‘ advertisements ran next to pro-Nazi content on the website, major advertisers like IBM, Apple, Disney, Lionsgate, Warner Brothers Discovery, Paramount Global, and NBC Universal—whose advertising division Yaccarino previously headed—left X last week. The action also came shortly after Musk responded to a far-right X user by publicly endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory. The White House criticized Musk’s statement, calling it an “abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate” that “runs against our core values as Americans,” among other things.
When court begins on Monday, Musk announced on Friday that the company would bring” a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.” There was no indication of a lawsuit as of Monday afternoon.
Advertisers who are questioning Yaccarino’s decision to jeopardize her reputation in order to defend Musk, Forbes, have already put pressure on her to step down as CEO of X. Yaccarino criticized Media Matters in a post on X on Monday morning. There will be critics and manufactured distractions when you are this important, but we remain committed to our goal, she wrote. ” We appreciate you supporting us!”
Engadget asked for comment, and an X spokesperson responded by sending a link to Yaccarino’s x post.