Disney’s Iger on halting X ads: Association with Musk, platform not ‘a positive one for us’

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Bob Iger offered more insight into Disney’s decision to halt advertising on Elon Musk’s social media platform X on Wednesday during a DealBook Summit session.

Iger told New York Times columnist and DealBook editor-at-large Aaron Ross Sorkin he had “a lot of respect” for Musk and “what he’s accomplished and not just, you know, one business but a few businesses.” 

Musk has owned X, formerly Twitter, for over a year, and serves as CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX.

“And we know Elon is larger than life in many respects and that his name is very much tied to the companies he either has founded or he owns,” the Disney CEO added. 

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“And by him taking the position that he took in quite a public manner, we just felt that the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us, and we decided we would pull our advertising.”

Disney, which Iger returned to lead about a year ago, ceased using X for advertising in mid-November, according to reports. 

Some other companies discontinued ads on X around the same time. That had been preceded by Media Matters for America reporting X ads for certain firms and antisemitic content had shown up adjacent to each other. 

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Musk’s X has since filed a defamation complaint against the organization, claiming Media Matters “manipulated algorithms governing the user experience on X to bypass safeguards and create images of X’s largest advertisers’ paid posts adjacent to racist, incendiary content, leaving the false impression that these pairings are anything but what they actually are: manufactured, inorganic and extraordinarily rare.”

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The tech billionaire has been the target of widespread criticism since mid-November when he commented that an X user had “said the actual truth” after that person alleged Jewish communities have spread “hatred against whites.”

In response to allegations he’s antisemitic, Musk has said “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he “wish[es] only the best for humanity.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends an event

While Disney has ceased X advertising, Iger also told Sorkin Wednesday Disney’s brands haven’t stopped using the platform altogether.

“We are now allowing entities of the company to use X as a platform to communicate,” he said, giving examples such as ABC News and ESPN. 

Disney+ logo

He said he hasn’t “readdressed” the advertising pause “since the decision was made.” 

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The DealBook Summit in New York City has had other prominent public figures take the stage, such as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Musk is also participating, according to The New York Times.

Bradford Betz, Eric Revell and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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