Technology

ADL chief on Musk accusations: ‘I can’t really tell you what’s in his head’ 

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt responded to tech billionaire Elon Musk’s accusations the organization was trying to “kill X,” arguing posts on social media as a whole have been “deeply troubling.”

“I can’t really tell you what’s in his head,” Greenblatt said during an interview with CNN “Primetime’s” Abby Phillips. “There is a problem across all social media services. We’ve talked about it before, I’ve talked about it on this network, I’ve talked about it with Elon Musk … anti-Jewish acts have reached historic levels in the United States.” 

Musk — who is the owner of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter — has threatened a lawsuit against the ADL. In a series of posts Monday, he said the hate-speech watchdog “falsely” accused him of being antisemitic and suggested the comments were to blame for a decrease in ad revenue.

“Since the acquisition, The @ADL has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic,” Musk wrote, adding, “Our US advertising revenue is still down 60%, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by @ADL (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter!”

Greenblatt, who affirmed his support for the First Amendment, was quick to point out that his organization had “seen an increase in kind of QAnon hashtags” and “a lot of notorious antisemites re-platformed” since Musk took control of the social media platform last year. 

“I think hate speech, speech we don’t like, that’s the price of free speech,” he said. “But the question is, are you elevating it? Are you expanding it? Are you making it easy to see for children and other people? Are you finding ways to de-amplify it and tamp it down?”

The ADL chief stressed Musk’s latest inflammatory comments, his “frivolous lawsuit” against the civil rights group and his engagement with figures — such as far-right Irish activist Keith Woods and white supremacist Nick Fuentes — have only emboldened “bad actors with very hateful intent.”

Following Musk’s posts, a #BanTheADL campaign began to circulate on X, prompting one group of masked men in Florida on Saturday to march through the streets waving flags adorned with swastikas and chanting “Ban the ADL.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the organization would not comment on the legal threats as a matter of policy, but they said the “ADL is unsurprised yet undeterred that antisemites, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and other trolls have launched a coordinated attack on our organization.”

Tags adl anti-defamation league antisemitism Elon Musk Jonathan Greenblatt Social media Twitter X

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