Elon Musk told CNBC’s David Faber on Tuesday that he doesn’t care if his inflammatory tweets scare advertisers away from Twitter.
“I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it,” said Musk, who owns Twitter.
Musk has for years tweeted controversial items, including conspiracy theories and comments his critics have called broadly discriminatory. His defense comes a day after Musk caught renewed criticism for a tweet in which he likened liberal billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros to X-Men villain Magneto, a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
“He wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity,” Musk tweeted Monday.
Musk has previously criticized Soros, whose family office, Soros Fund Management, recently cut its stake in Tesla. Soros, who is also Jewish, is a favorite target of right wing pundits and politicians and often the subject of anti-Semitic attacks. Soros and his family escaped the Nazis during World War II.
Critics said Musk’s tweets about Soros fit a larger pattern of attacks on the 92-year-old investor and Democratic donor. “Musk’s likening Soros to Magneto isn’t casual; it’s a nod to harmful antisemitic tropes of Jewish global control,” tweeted Alex Goldenberg, an analyst at the Network Contagion Research Institute. Israel’s Foreign Ministry, likewise, said Musk’s tweets had “anti-Semitic overtones.”
Musk on Tuesday denied he’s an anti-Semite. “I’m a pro-Semite, if anything,” he said when Faber asked him about the criticism. Musk has also previously tweeted and removed memes using Hitler.
Faber on Tuesday also asked Musk why he tweeted a link to someone who said a mass shooting at a Texas mall earlier this month might be part of “a bad psyop,” or “psychological operation.” Investigators have probed whether the shooter, whom police killed, had expressed white supremacist views since he wore a “RWDS” patch, a reference to the phrase “Right Wing Death Squad,” which is used by extremists.
“I thought this ascribing it to white supremacy was bulls—,” Musk said, adding that he thinks there’s no proof the shooter was a white supremacist. “We should not be ascribing things to white supremacy if they’re — if it’s false.”
Since Musk took over Twitter last fall, the social media network has experienced a sharp decline in advertising revenue as brands and companies assessed changes to the platform and some called out its outspoken new owner.
Last week, Musk hired former NBCUniversal advertising chief Linda Yaccarino to replace him as Twitter’s CEO, a move widely seen as a way to jumpstart Twitter’s ad business. She started Sunday.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.
–CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.