(CNN) — Elon Musk has a deepening crisis on his hands.
Days after the billionaire conspiracy theorist endorsed an anti-Semitic post on his hate-infused platform, X, pressure is mounting for others to take further action against the out-of-control businessman.
Musk’s attention, however, has not been on apologizing profusely to the public for his reprehensible comments or assuring his advertisers that he takes their complaints seriously. Instead, he has focused on threatening and attempting to exact revenge on critics.
It is a critical juncture for the company owned by Musk. Below are six questions about the dire situation that devastates X:
What is Musk doing with his lawsuit against Media Matters?
Musk made good on his threat on Monday to file a lawsuit against the progressive media watchdog group after attacking a report the group published last week showing that X had placed ads directly next to neo-Nazi content. However, Musk confirmed that the Media Matters report was accurate and that “This lawsuit is riddled with legal flaws, and it is highly ironic that a platform that promotes itself as a beacon of free speech brings a false case like this that flatly contradicts the basic principles of the First Amendment and attacks the freedom of a critic’s speech,” First Amendment lawyer Ted Boutrous told me. “And in some ways it’s a dream come true for the people at Media Matters, because it could allow them to use the litigation discovery process to force X to disclose all kinds of embarrassing and damaging private information that he would prefer to keep secret.” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, responded in a statement: “This is a frivolous lawsuit intended to intimidate X’s critics into silence. Media Matters stands behind its reporting and hopes to win in court.”
Why does X continue to post ads on the account of the most well-known white supremacist on the internet?
In October, a Reliable Sources study found that More than a month later, X is still posting ads on the account. In fact, after the war between Israel and Hamas broke out, I even noticed that How can this be acceptable while claiming to care about brand safety? I asked a representative of X, but got no response.
Will Linda Yaccarino stay in X?
Marketing industry veteran Lou Paskalis, founder and CEO of marketing consultancy AJL Advisory, confirmed to Clare Duffy and me on Monday that there has been a “surge” of advertising executives urging her to resign, in a effort to save his reputation. “She believes she can turn Elon Musk into someone respected by the advertising community, and that ship has sailed,” Paskalis told us. “But she’s not going to get off the mechanical bull without all of us telling her, ‘It’s time to go.’ And I think there’s been an undercurrent of a lot of people like me saying, ‘Save yourself.’” Yaccarino indicated that, for now, she is not going anywhere. Will that change?
How long will the NFL remain silent?
The NFL is one of X’s largest advertisers and media partners. However, this entertainment powerhouse has remained completely silent amid the backlash against Musk for his anti-Semitic attitude. Earlier this year, the NFL expressed concern when a Media Matters report found that its ads appeared next to accounts belonging to racists. But he hasn’t said a word since, even as X continued to place ads for NFL teams on VDARE’s account. This Monday I contacted the NFL for comment, but have not yet received a response.
Will the media stop their ads?
Several news organizations continue to send ads to Musk despite his anti-Semitic support and terrible attacks on the free press. This Monday, I saw ads from The Washington Post and the Financial Times on the platform. Neither of them answered me when I contacted them. The institutions that are supposed to speak truth to power do not seem to have any interest in doing so in this case. But a couple of them have taken action. Axios has discontinued advertising on X, a person familiar with the matter told me. And TechCrunch also paused a small expense, I’m told. It is unclear whether The New York Times continues to advertise to X. Spokespeople for the NYT did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.
When will the newsrooms be separated from X?
It’s amazing that some news organizations feel comfortable sending ads to Musk while simultaneously reporting on his disgraceful behavior and the hate unleashed on his platform. But it’s also surprising that so many journalists and newsrooms continue to serve as cogs in Musk’s machine, providing him with a veneer of credibility by publishing an endless stream of free content on X. As Casey Newton told The WP: “This is not a place to go to get news or to discuss news or to have a good time. It’s over. “If you wouldn’t join Gab, or Parler, or Truth Social, there’s no reason for you to be on X. I think it’s time for journalists and editors, in particular, to recognize the new reality and get off that website.” Newton has stated that his publication, Platformer, will no longer publish on X or link to content on the website. We made a similar decision, removing the Reliable Sources brand from X in July and stopping linking to content on the platform in early October Support for hate speech, conspiracy theories and anti-press sentiments comes from the top. Why offer tacit support to the platform?