Another major American retailer has joined the ranks of “woke” companies fearful that Elon Musk’s pro-First Amendment stance on X will hurt their bottom line.
Walmart on Tuesday reportedly decided to pause its extensive advertising campaigns on X following a post by Musk that critics called antisemitic, something the founder has vehemently denied though expressed regret for posting.
In a curt response, a spokesman said, “We aren’t advertising on X as we’ve found other platforms to better reach our customers.”
The nation’s largest retailer has fallen in line behind other brands like Disney, Comcast, Disney, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. that have pulled spending from the social media platform once known as Twitter and rebranded following Musk’s purchase earlier this year.
Asked about the controversy earlier this month, Musk issued an explicit verbal rebuke of his corporate critics and singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“Go f**k yourself,” Musk told a visibly stunned host, NBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, who followed up to ask if Musk’s recent visit to Israel could be viewed as an “apology tour” in response to his original post.
“I should have not replied to that particular person… I essentially handed a loaded gun to those who hate me. What I was saying was that it’s unwise to support groups that want your annihilation. If anything, I am Philo-Semitic,” he explained.
“I hope they stop,” Musk stated. “Don’t advertise.”
“If somebody’s gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go f**k yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience,” he added, waving for effect.
Walmart’s assertion that it has found greener advertising pastures runs up against numbers released by Joe Benarroch, X’s head of business operations, showing half a million users with many leveraging the site for their holiday shopping.
“Walmart has a wonderful community of more than a million people on X, and with a half a billion people on X, every year the platform experiences 15 billion impressions about the holidays alone with more than 50% of X users doing most or all of their shopping online,” said Benarroch in a statement to CBS News.
Breitbart pointed to estimates by financial analysts that the corporate boycott of X could cost Musk’s platform $75 million in the coming quarter. In response, the world’s richest man has doubled down on his areas of success, launching Tesla’s much-touted Cybertruck and highlighting recent developments at SpaceX, his private space venture firm.
Back on X, Musk holds one of the most-followed accounts and regularly makes news for headline-grabbing stunts, as when he downgraded the New York Times’s account for “fake news,” fueled speculation of the truth behind Pizzagate, and shredded GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley for her pro-China stances.