Elon Musk’s X Corp., formerly known as Twitter, accused Media Matters for America in a lawsuit of “maliciously” trying to drive away advertisers from the social media platform by reporting that ads for Apple Inc., International Business Machines Corp. and Oracle Corp. were running next to pro-Nazi content.
“Media Matters designed both these images and its resulting media strategy to drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp.,” the company said in a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas.
The report by the liberal watchdog group followed a flurry of antisemitic and other hate speech on X, some of which Musk himself promoted, eliciting outrage and alienating advertisers. Apple and Walt Disney Co. have suspended or halted ad spending on the platform.
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X claims Media Matters kick-started a “blatant smear campaign” by publishing almost 20 articles against the social media platform and Musk in November. Media Matters is accused in the complaint of illegally interfering with X’s contracts with advertisers and making malicious and false statements that it’s intentionally placing ads near antisemitic posts.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence,” Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said in a statement. “Media Matters stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court.”
Musk’s company is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a court order directing Media Matters to immediately take down an article posted in mid-November. Musk hinted in an X post that he will file more lawsuits.
Musk agreed with a post last week that said Jewish people hold a “dialectical hatred” of White people, drawing fire from several Tesla investors as well as the White House. Ross Gerber, co-founder and CEO of wealth management firm Gerber Kawasaki Inc., said Thursday on CNBC that Musk’s outbursts were “destroying the brand.”
The 52-year-old entrepreneur is the world’s richest person and the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., in addition to his ownership of X. He is famous for his provocative posts, including one in which he said he had the funding to take Tesla private, spurring a shareholder lawsuit he ultimately won. But his latest forays into religion and race have triggered an especially fierce response.
Among those defending Musk is hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who said on X that Musk isn’t an antisemite and that “the world is a vastly better place because of him.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said Monday he’s opening an investigation into whether Media Matters fraudulently manipulated data on X.com.
The case is X Corp. v. Media Matters for America, 23-cv-1175, US District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).