Elon Musk Appeals To Advertisers Again, Walks Back Call For Some To ‘Go F**k' Themselves

Elon Musk tried to woo advertisers back to the social media giant X on Wednesday, walking back his challenge last year that some companies should “go fuck” themselves for pausing their ad buys at the time.

Musk spoke at the annual Cannes Lions advertising festival in France on Wednesday, saying his comments last November were meant to protect free speech on the platform, formerly known as Twitter.

“First of all, it wasn’t to advertisers as a whole. It was with respect to freedom of speech,” Musk told the crowd. “It is important to have a global free speech platform where people with a wide range of opinions can voice their views. In some cases there were advertisers who were insisting on censorship.”

“We’re going to support free speech rather than agree to be censored for money,” he went on.

Elon Musk attends the Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity in France.
Elon Musk attends the Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity in France. Marc Piasecki via Getty Images

The billionaire made the offending remarks at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit last year. Companies were pulling their ads after Musk appeared to endorse an antisemitic post on X amid the war between Israel and Hamas. The site was also reeling after reports some ads for major companies appeared next to pro-Nazi and white nationalist content.

Musk rejected any claims that he was antisemitic and has long defended X as a bastion of free speech.

“If somebody’s going to try and blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” Musk said during the summit last year. “Go. Fuck. Yourself.”

On Wednesday, Musk went on to say advertisers had a “right” to appear next to content they “find compatible with their brands.”

“What is not cool is insisting that there can be no content they disagree with on the platform,” he said.

“In order for X to be the public square for the world, it really better be a free speech platform,” he went on. “Now, that doesn’t mean people can say illegal things. It’s free speech within the bounds of the law.”