The White House on Friday accused Elon Musk of repeating a “hideous” lie on his social media site X this week, calling it an “abhorrent promotion of anti-Semitic and racist hate” that “runs against our core values as Americans”.
The statement from the White House follows decisions by at least two more major corporations to pull their advertising dollars from X after watchdog Media Matters found advertisements by IBM, Apple and others were placed alongside content promoting Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.
Mr Musk on Wednesday endorsed a post on X that falsely claimed Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people, saying a user who referenced the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory was speaking “the actual truth”.
That conspiracy theory holds that Jewish people and leftists are engineering the ethnic and cultural replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants that will lead to a “white genocide”.
“It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie … one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said, referring to Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel.
Representatives for Mr Musk and X on Friday declined to comment on the post.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp on Friday said it was pausing its X advertisements, while Axios reported Apple, the world's largest company by market value, was also pausing its advertisements. IBM on Thursday halted its advertising on the platform.
“When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world – it's ugly and wrong. Full stop,” X chief executive Linda Yaccarino wrote on Thursday.
Advertisers have fled the site since Mr Musk bought it in October last year and reduced content moderation, resulting in a sharp rise in hate speech on X, civil rights groups have said.
Anti-Semitism has been on the rise in recent years in the US and worldwide.
Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas after last month's attack, anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by nearly 400 per cent from the year-earlier period, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a non-profit that fights anti-Semitism.
Mr Musk, chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla and founder of rocket company SpaceX, has blamed the Anti-Defamation League for the ongoing drop in advertisers without offering any evidence.