Advertising executives at major corporations including McDonald’s and Colgate-Palmolive have expressed concern that Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s free speech absolutism is ‘perpetuating racism’ , according to emails reported by Semafor.
In a leaked email thread, North American board members of MMA Global discussed Musk’s scheduled appearance at the digital marketing association’s Possible conference on April 18. advertisers who leaked Twitter following its takeover of the platform for $44 billion.
In January, Reuters reported that fourteen of the top 30 advertisers on Twitter cut all ad spending when Musk took control on Oct. 27, according to data from research firm Pathmatics. “Overall, ad spend for the top 30 companies fell 42% to approximately $53.8 million for November and December combined,” the report said.
Musk previously said an activist campaign by groups lobbying advertisers and “trying to destroy free speech in America” resulted in a “massive drop in revenue” for the company. He has since sought to win back these advertisers by promising that the platform will not become “a hellscape free for all.”
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It will be a tough sell to industry leaders, who have reportedly expressed Musk’s deep skepticism in their discussions.
“For many communities, his willingness to leverage success and personal financial resources to advance an agenda under the guise of free speech perpetuates the resulting racism [in] direct threats to their communities and the potential for brand safety compromises that we should all be concerned about,” wrote Tariq Hassan, director of marketing and customer experience at McDonald’s.
“Additionally, all of us who lead our brand investments across all platforms have had to navigate a post-acquisition situation that objectively can only be characterized as ranging from chaos to moments of irresponsibility,” he said. -he adds.
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Colgate-Palmolive vice president and general manager of customer experience and growth, Diana Haussling, wrote that she was “aware of the harmful effects and often Elon Musk racist speech.”
“While I am a huge supporter of free speech and enterprise, we cannot ignore the impact of such hate speech. I especially cannot ignore it as a black woman” , she added, according to Semafor.
Albertsons’ senior vice president of retail media, Kristi Argyilan, also expressed concerns about the “reputational risk to MMA” posed by “giving Elon Musk a stage.”
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“While executives did not specify what they were referring to, last month Musk defended Scott Adamsthe creator of Dilbert, after he called black Americans a ‘hate group’ and said the media was racist against whites and Asians,” Semafor’s report noted.
Twitter vice president of global sales and marketing Chris Riedy reportedly responded in the thread, offering to set up private meetings with Musk where advertisers could talk to him directly.
“Twitter needs each of you and your feedback is critical in shaping what the company can become. Elon will be in Miami for most of Tuesday and wants to hear from you,” Riedy wrote. “To that end, and in an effort to foster the healthiest conversation possible and to give each of you the opportunity to speak directly to him, how about bringing this group together with Elon immediately after the session with Linda?”
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Twitter is currently responding to all press inquiries with an automated message containing a poo emoji.
MMA Global did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.