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Elon Musk, the prominent figure behind Tesla, SpaceX, and X Corp., ignited a firestorm of controversy on Wednesday with a series of tweets that many have criticized as prejudiced and divisive.
Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theory
In a departure from his usual discourse, Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory and then leveled accusations against “Jewish communities,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and minorities, citing what he termed as “anti-white” messaging and views without substantiating his claims.
As the wealthiest individual globally, with a net worth estimated at around $225 billion, Musk heads multiple companies collectively employing approximately 150,000 individuals worldwide. His portfolio includes SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Co., Neuralink, X Corp., and his recent venture, xAI.
The tweet details
Musk’s controversial tweet exchange centered on endorsing a statement that alleged Jewish people were promoting a form of hatred against whites, to which he emphatically agreed, drawing considerable attention and condemnation.
Yair Rosenberg of The Atlantic noted, “This exchange would have remained unnoticed if Musk hadn’t engaged with this bigoted statement.”
The response was swift, with the ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, warning against validating and propagating antisemitic theories, particularly in a climate of escalating antisemitism globally.
Musk, facing backlash for his support of the antisemitic tweet, redirected his criticism toward the ADL, alleging unjust attacks on the majority in the West while omitting evidence supporting these claims. CNBC’s attempts to reach Musk and his companies for clarification yielded no substantial response except for an auto-reply citing being busy.
In subsequent tweets, Musk defended his stance, expressing offense at the ADL’s messaging and condemning any form of racism, including anti-white and anti-Asian sentiments.
This incident aligns with a pattern of controversial social media behavior by Musk, coinciding with previous legal challenges faced by his companies, particularly Tesla. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s lawsuit against Tesla over alleged racial discrimination further compounds Musk’s recurrent controversies.
Musk had previously threatened legal action against the ADL, attributing a significant revenue decline at X to the organization’s actions, though no lawsuit has materialized.
Hate crimes expert Brian Levin highlighted the potential consequences of Musk’s statements, suggesting that his amplification of divisive rhetoric could exacerbate antisemitic incidents and hate crimes, a concern echoed by Meredith Benton at Whistle Stop Capital, who suggested potential repercussions on Musk’s businesses.
The controversy underscores growing apprehension among investors regarding allegations of discrimination and the company’s handling of such issues, pointing to a consequential proxy season ahead for Tesla.