The feud between Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and Bob Iger, the former CEO and current executive chairman of Disney, started when Disney decided to pull its ads from X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter that Musk acquired in October 2022. Disney was one of several major companies that withdrew their advertising from X after Musk endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory in a post that said “You have said the actual truth” in response to a user who claimed that Jewish people were behind a plot to replace white people. Musk later apologized and visited Israel to make amends, but the damage was done.
Disney’s decision to stop advertising on X was announced by Iger at the New York Times DealBook Summit on November 29, 2023, where he said that he had a lot of respect for Musk and his accomplishments, but that he felt that the association with his position and X was not positive for Disney. He also said that Disney had suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram, two platforms that are owned by Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, which is another rival of Musk.
How did Musk react to Iger’s announcement?
Musk did not take Iger’s announcement lightly. He responded by launching a scathing attack on Iger and Disney at the same summit, where he was scheduled to speak later that day. Musk told the audience that he had a message for the companies that pulled their ads from X, and that message was “Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey Bob! If you’re in the audience.” He also accused Iger of being hypocritical for criticizing X while still advertising on Meta’s platforms, which he said were worse for spreading misinformation and hate. He also mocked Iger’s leadership of Disney, saying that he had ruined the company’s legacy and creativity by focusing on remakes and sequels instead of original content.
Musk’s remarks caused a stir in the media and online, where many people expressed their opinions on the feud. Some supported Musk for standing up for free speech and innovation, while others sided with Iger for taking a stand against antisemitism and bigotry. Some also criticized both billionaires for being out of touch and arrogant, and suggested that they should focus on solving more important problems than their personal egos.
What are the implications of the feud for X and Disney?
The feud between Musk and Iger has significant implications for both X and Disney, as well as for the broader media and entertainment industry. X, which Musk rebranded as a platform for free expression and innovation, has been struggling to attract and retain users and advertisers since its acquisition by Musk. The controversy over Musk’s antisemitic post and his subsequent response to Iger has further damaged X’s reputation and credibility, and has alienated many potential customers and partners. X also faces legal challenges from Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group that accused X of placing ads from major companies next to neo-Nazi content. X has denied the allegations and filed a defamation lawsuit against Media Matters.
Disney, on the other hand, has been facing its own challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely affected its theme parks, movies, and merchandise businesses. Disney has been trying to recover by investing heavily in its streaming service, Disney+, which has been growing rapidly and competing with other platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, Disney’s decision to pull its ads from X could have negative consequences for its streaming strategy, as it could lose access to a large and influential audience that uses X to discover and discuss content. Disney could also face backlash from some of its fans and creators, who might disagree with its stance on X and Musk.
What is the future of the feud between Musk and Iger?
The feud between Musk and Iger does not seem to be ending anytime soon, as both billionaires have shown no signs of backing down or apologizing. Musk has continued to post about Iger and Disney on X, calling Iger a “real stand-up guy” and saying that he should be fired. He has also challenged Iger to a debate on X, saying that he would be willing to discuss any topic with him. Iger, meanwhile, has not responded directly to Musk’s attacks, but has maintained his position that Disney will not advertise on X as long as Musk is in charge. He has also said that he is focused on his role as executive chairman of Disney, and that he is not interested in engaging with Musk.
The feud between Musk and Iger could have far-reaching implications for the media and entertainment industry, as well as for the society at large. It could affect the way that people consume and create content, the way that companies advertise and monetize their products and services, and the way that public figures communicate and influence their followers. It could also reflect and shape the values and norms of the culture, as it exposes the tensions and conflicts between different ideologies and perspectives. The feud between Musk and Iger is not just a personal spat between two powerful men, but a manifestation of a larger and deeper struggle over the future of the digital world.