Disney: Elon Musk calls for boss to be fired over ad spat


  • By Annabelle Liang
  • Business reporter

Image caption,

Elon Musk speaking at an event in New York last month

Elon Musk has said Disney boss Bob Iger should be “fired immediately” after the company stopped advertising on X.

“Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company,” Mr Musk said in a series of posts against the media giant.

It comes just a week after he told companies that joined an ad boycott of his platform, formerly known as Twitter, to “Go [expletive] yourself”.

Some firms have paused advertising on X amid concerns over antisemitism.

Disney did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment on Friday.

During his first leadership stint at the company, he was credited for driving major acquisitions involving the likes of animation studio Pixar, comic book company Marvel, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and Lucasfilm, the home of Star Wars.

These moves, as well as amusement park openings, helped the company’s market value increase fivefold.

But his second time around has been dominated by job cuts and other challenges.

In a post on Thursday, Mr Musk appeared to allude to the recent weak box-office performances of some Disney firms, saying Mr Iger dropped “more bombs than a B-52”.

The multi-billionaire also accused Disney of advertising on other social media platforms that allowed controversial materials.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Bob Iger (left) and Mickey Mouse

Last week, in a profanity-laced outburst at an event in New York, Mr Musk slammed advertisers that had left X and warned that they would kill the social media platform.

He also accused companies including Disney, Apple and Comcast, which have paused advertising on the site, of trying to blackmail him.

“I don’t want them to advertise,” Mr Musk said in response to a question at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit.

“If someone is going to blackmail me with advertising or money go [expletive] yourself.

“Go. [Expletive]. Yourself. Is that clear? Hey Bob, if you’re in the audience, that’s how I feel.”

Mr Musk was apparently referring to Mr Iger, who spoke at the summit earlier in the day.

X’s chief executive Linda Yaccarino, who also attended the summit, has since reposted what she called Mr Musk’s “candid interview”.

She added her perspective on advertising that “X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you”.

Mr Musk has been on a visit to Israel after he appeared to personally back an antisemitic conspiracy theory last month. He denied the post was antisemitic but apologised, saying it might have been the “dumbest” thing he had ever shared online.

However, many advertisers had already chosen to spend their money elsewhere.

In July, Mr Musk acknowledged in a post on X that ad revenue had fallen by 50%.

His brash presence on social media has also caused trouble for his other companies, including Tesla.

In 2018 Mr Musk and the electric car company paid $40m to settle charges that he had defrauded investors with a post that claimed he had “funding secured” to buy the publicly listed firm and take it private.

As part of the settlement with financial regulators, Mr Musk agreed to set up a process to give Tesla more oversight over his social media posts about the firm.

He has since repeatedly tried to end the deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying it infringes on his constitutional right to free speech and is an overreach of power.

On Thursday he took that appeal to the top court in the US, asking the Supreme Court to decide the matter.

It is not clear if the court will agree to review the case.





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