White supremacists cheer Elon Musk threat to sue ADL for lost advertising revenues.

“To clear our platform’s name on the matter of antisemitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League … oh the irony!”

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

After bolstering a white supremacist campaign to shutter the account of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on X, formerly known as Twitter, the social media platform’s billionaire owner, Elon Musk, has threatened to sue the Jewish civil rights organization, claiming that the ADL is responsible for the company’s steep loss of advertising revenue.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday that attacked the ADL and shared content harshly critical of the organization, Musk asserted that since his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion in Oct. 2022, “the ADL has tried to kill this platform by falsely accusing me and it of being antisemitic.”

In a subsequent tweet, Musk wrote: “To clear our platform’s name on the matter of antisemitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League … oh the irony!” Additionally, he stated that “[O]ur 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!”

Replying to one far right account that is pushing the hashtags #BantheADL and #BankrupttheADL, Musk claimed that the ADL “would potentially be on the hook for destroying half the value of the company, so roughly $22 billion.” Approximately 50 percent of Twitter advertisers departed the platform in the month following Musk’s takeover.

In response, Keith Woods, an Ireland-based white supremacist and self-described “raging antisemite” whose tweets have been “liked” by Musk, delightedly exclaimed “LFG!” — an abbreviation for the phrase “Let’s F___ Go.”

And in a separate exchange, Woods posted a video of convicted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones comparing the ADL with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, leading Musk to answer: “The ADL, because they are so aggressive in their demands to ban social media accounts for even minor infractions, are ironically the biggest generators of antisemitism on this platform!”

Musk’s decision to blame a Jewish nonprofit for X’s revenue woes comes after a year of trying, and failing, to win back some of the key advertisers — among them AMC Networks, AT&T, Ford, and restaurant chain Chipotle — who abandoned the platform out of fear that the South African billionaire’s changes to content moderation would result in a surge of hate speech. Concern was also voiced over Musk’s decision to limit non-paying users of the platform to reading 600 tweets per day in a bid to boost paid subscriptions.

In July, Musk claimed that his dramatic cost-cutting measures — including laying off 6,000 employees, about 80 percent of the company’s workforce — would reduce its 2023 expenses to $1.5 billion as opposed to the projected $4.5 billion. The company also has to service an annual $1.5 billion interest payment on the loan Musk took out for its purchase as its losses continue to mount. “We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load,” Musk tweeted at the time. “Need to reach positive cash flow before we have the luxury of anything else.”

In his latest offensive against the ADL, Musk marshaled content from Jewish critics of the organization as well as white supremacists and far right advocates. His tweets included links to “Defamation” — a 2009 film by the left-wing Israeli director Yoav Shamir that charged the ADL with manipulating the term “antisemitism” to incorporate anti-Zionism — and an article by Liel Liebowitz, a right-wing contributor to the Jewish magazine Tablet. Liebowitz accused ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt of switching his attention “to the far trendier and more glamorous pursuit of amplifying the sort of headlines that sophisticated, educated, affluent people — whose circumstances couldn’t be any more different than those of the actual Jews being physically attacked in their far less glamorous neighborhoods — like to pretend matter.”

Last month, Musk filed a civil complaint against the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a nonprofit that has closely monitored the rise in hate speech on Twitter over the previous year. CCDH’s research revealed that the daily use of the racist “n-word” is triple the 2022 average, while the use of slurs against gay men and trans persons have risen 58 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

Separate research carried out this year by CASM Technology, a tech firm, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think-tank, disclosed a daily average of more than 12,000 “plausibly antisemitic” tweets — an increase of 106 percent from 2022.