Tesla, SpaceX, and X Corp. leader Elon Musk issued a spate of arguably bigoted tweets on Wednesday that spurred a critical backlash online.
First, Musk drew attention to and agreed with an antisemitic conspiracy theory, and then directly accused “Jewish communities,” the non-profit Anti-Defamation League, and minorities of what he called “anti-white” messaging and views, without giving examples to support his accusations.
Musk, who is the richest person in the world with a net worth around $225 billion according to Bloomberg, leads several companies that collectively employ around 150,000 people worldwide, including SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Co., Neuralink, X Corp, and his latest artificial-intelligence startup, xAI.
Musk, who has never reserved his social media posts for business matters alone, drew attention to an tweet that said Jewish people “have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.”
Musk replied to that tweet in emphatic agreement: “You have said the actual truth.”
In response to Musk’s tweet, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), “At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories. #NeverIsNow.”
Among other things, the Jewish-led non-profit works to fight antisemitic incidents, racist discrimination, and hate crimes in the U.S.
After Musk began to face a backlash for endorsing the anti-semitic tweet, he took aim more specifically at the ADL.
He wrote, without providing any evidence for these claims, “The ADL unjustly attacks the majority of the West, despite the majority of the West supporting the Jewish people and Israel. This is because they cannot, by their own tenets, criticize the minority groups who are their primary threat. It is not right and needs to stop.”
CNBC reached out to Musk and X Corp. for comments and to clarify which “minority groups” Musk sees as a “primary threat” to the Jewish people and Israel, but received not comment except an apparent auto-response message that said, “Busy now, please check back later.”
In subsequent tweets, after a follower told Musk he was not being fair or truthful, the billionaire replied, “You [sic] right that this does not extend to all Jewish communities, but it is also not just limited to ADL.” He added, “And, at the risk of being repetitive, I am deeply offended by ADL’s messaging and any other groups who push de facto anti-white racism or anti-Asian racism or racism of any kind. I’m sick of it. Stop now.”
Musk has posted incendiary tweets for a long time and his companies, especially Tesla, have faced lawsuits over alleged civil and workers’ rights violations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Tesla over racist discrimination and harassment of Black workers this year.
Musk previously threatened to sue the ADL, alleging that they tried to “kill” his social network’s business. He has blamed the ADL, rather than his own business decisions, for a 60% drop in revenue at X and said he had “no choice” but to file a defamation lawsuit against the group. However, no lawsuit has yet materialized.
The ADL declined to offer further comment on Thursday morning.
Hate crimes expert Brian Levin, who is a Professor Emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino, told CNBC that law enforcement is already tracking generational spikes in anti-Jewish hate crime in North America and elsewhere. He said, “Elon Musk piles on by amplifying neo-Nazi type Jew hatred about them being anti-white by invoking immigration, just as the convicted Tree of Life massacre killer did.” As a result, anti-semitic incidents and crimes could spike further.
“Notorious antisemites are celebrating what they see as Musk’s complete conversion to blatant expressions of Jew hatred. When we saw similar rants from Ye last October, anti-Jewish hate crime spiked across the country,” Levin said.
Meredith Benton at Whistle Stop Capital told CNBC the move could affect Musk’s business interests.
“For Mr. Musk to amplify this type of rhetoric on Twitter, indicates his disinterest in turning that platform into a cash-positive business; I expect many corporate advertisers who had decided to stay on Twitter are now looking at their last straw.””
Benton added, “It appears, unfortunately, that the current leadership may be the source, not the solution, to the harassment and discrimination problems we have seen at Tesla’s factories. Tesla investors (a majority in 2022, if you exclude Elon’s shares) have already made clear that they hold deep concerns over the allegations of racism and retaliation at Tesla factories alongside the company’s continued use of concealment clauses. This will be a very interesting proxy season; there is no sideline for investors to sit on where a CEO decides to be this polarizing.”
Take-Two shares tumble as Rockstar Games publishes Grand Theft Auto trailer early after leak
Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take Two Interactive.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Shares of video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software fell 4% in extended trading on Monday after the company released its trailer for the next version of the Grand Theft Auto game, which will come out in 2025. The company had originally planned to put out the trailer hours later, at 6 a.m. ET. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, but a leak caused Take Two to move up its timeline.
The video was originally leaked on X, formerly known as Twitter. After that, Rockstar Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two, published the trailer on YouTube.
Grand Theft Auto VI is likely to impact Take Two shares upon its release. Grand Theft Auto V debuted in 2013, and it’s now the second best-selling video game in history, having sold more than 190 million copies. It’s only behind Microsoft-owned Minecraft, of which over 300 million copies have been sold.
Gamers have been eager for details about the new game for years. Sam Houser, Rockstar’s founder, announced in early November that the trailer would come out in December.
“As the label approaches its 25th anniversary next month, we congratulate Rockstar Games on their constant innovation in the pursuit of the highest quality interactive entertainment,” Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told analysts on a November conference call.
You can watch the new trailer below:
Uber shares pop as company is slated to join S&P 500
Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi speaks during the “Intentional Equity in Sustainability” conversation at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, California, on November 15, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
Uber’s spot in the benchmark index is not official until Dec. 18, according to a press release, but it is common for the stock to rise, since investors know that managers of index funds that track the S&P 500 will add it to their portfolios. Uber will replace Sealed Air Corp. in the S&P 500.
Analysts at Oppenheimer reiterated their outperform rating on the stock and raised their price target to $75 per share from $65. They said Uber’s ticket into the S&P 500 will likely help improve investors’ sentiment about returns.
“Following the inclusion, we expect UBER to lean into growth and share buybacks, which should increase investor sentiment for growth/return in 2024,” the analysts wrote in a note Sunday.
Members of the index must have positive earnings in the most recent quarter and over the prior four quarters in total, according to S&P’s rules. Uber reported net income of $221 million on $9.29 billion in revenue for its third quarter, and in the past four quarters altogether, it generated more than $1 billion in profit.
Uber also has a market cap of about $118 billion, which surpasses the S&P’s criteria that companies must have an adjusted market cap of at least $14.5 billion.
— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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Twilio lays off 5% of employees in unit activists want to divest
Jeff Lawson, chief executive officer of Twilio Inc., during the Singapore FinTech Festival in Singapore, on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023.
Lionel Ng | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Software provider Twilio said Monday it would lay off roughly 5% of its workforce, or around 400 employees, citing underachievement in the growth of a unit that activist investors have targeted.
Shares of Twilio were flat on the news.
According to a letter from CEO Jeff Lawson attached to a regulatory filing, the cuts are part of a broader plan to streamline Twilio’s offerings. The company is also sunsetting its Programmable Video product as part of the plan.
The cuts will strike deepest in Twilio’s Data & Applications unit, the same unit that activist investors at Legion Partners and Anson Funds are pushing Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson to divest. Legion Partners declined to comment.
“Last year, we made the decision to invest, ahead of growth, in go-to-market for Segment,” Lawson said in a letter to staff, referring to a Twilio offering that is part of its data & applications group. “Unfortunately, that bet hasn’t led to the growth outcome we’d hoped for.”
Twilio cut 17% of its workforce, or about 15% of its employees, in February.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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