Disney Pauses Advertising Spending on X Following Antisemitic Controversy Surrounding Elon Musk

Kyle Silagyi

Updated on:

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Disney Pauses Advertising Spending on X Following Antisemitic Controversy Surrounding Elon Musk

The Walt Disney Company has temporarily paused advertisement spending on X in light of a controversy surrounding service owner Elon Musk and a new report that found that the popular social media platform has been placing ads for major companies alongside antisemitic content. The New York Times broke the news of Disney’s pause on November 17.

Disney Pauses Advertising Spending on X

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The spending pause was prompted by results from a recent Media Matters for America study that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “found that [X has been] placing ads for companies such as ‘Apple, Bravo (NBCUniversal), IBM, Oracle, and Xfinity (Comcast) next to content that touts Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party.” Media Matters for America describes itself as a not-for-profit “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media” on its official website.

The timing of the report roughly coincides with a controversy surrounding Musk, who, according to CNN, “publicly endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory popular among White supremacists” on his personal X account on November 15. Several “Jewish leaders, activists, and academics representing both major political parties” condemned Musk’s remarks, per CNBC, calling on companies like Disney to halt ad spending.

Disney is one of several companies to pause spending on X, joining Apple and IBM. Lionsgate, an entertainment company that’s set to release “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” this weekend, has also temporarily ceased advertising on X.

The spending pause will be a significant blow for X, the platform formerly known as Twitter that Musk acquired last year for $44 billion. Musk has previously identified Disney and Apple as two of X’s larger advertisers, per THR, with The New York Times reporting that Apple spends “tens of millions of dollars a year on X.” Though Disney’s specific spending on X is unknown, the company does spend billions of dollars per year in advertising, allotting north of $5 billion to advertising in 2022, per Statista.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino addressed the Musk controversy on Thursday, posting “When it comes to this platform – X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world – it’s ugly and wrong,” per CNN.

Disney Wish Movie Still IMDB 1

Disney’s pause comes at the tail-end of what has been a significant advertising push for “Wish,” Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest feature that’s set to hit theaters on November 22. The pause will halt “Wish” advertisements from appearing in front of an X base of over 500 million monthly users in the days leading up to its release.

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The company’s pause will impact its non-film assets, as well; Disney owns several television networks that consistently use X for promotion. The primary ESPN account alone has over 48 million followers; this does not include any supplementary ESPN accounts or handles for the company’s other television networks like ABC, National Geographic, and FX.

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Author

  • Kyle Silagyi

    Kyle has been an ardent fan of all things Disney and themed entertainment since his first trek up the Forbidden Mountain in 2006. You can reach him at kyle@wdwnt.com