Tech writer and podcaster Kara Swisher didn't mince words in condemning the behavior of Elon Musk Wednesday evening at the New York Times' DealBook Summit, wherein he told fleeing advertisers like Disney to go fuck themselves.
CNN got SF resident Kara Swisher on a video call early Thursday to offer her comments on Musk's unusually petulant behavior at a public forum Wednesday. After Disney CEO Bob Iger had already spoken at the DealBook Summit and answered a question about why Disney pulled its ads from X/Twitter, Musk took the stage in conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin and said that if advertisers "think they can blackmail me... you can go fuck yourself."
The comment drew some immediate shocked silence, after which Musk repeated himself and got some nervous laughter.
"Let me just underscore for the audience, he's 52 years old," Swisher said, speaking to CNN today (interview embedded below). "This is a 52-year-old man who feels the need to use dirty words to make people feel shocked."
Swisher added, "It was a bizarre performance, it was a meltdown... That's not how adults behave. That's how adult toddlers behave."
The CNN anchors went on to point to X CEO Linda Yaccarino's strange and grasping tweet in response to the incident last night in which she says, "X is enabling an information independence that's uncomfortable for some people... And here’s my perspective when it comes to advertising: X is standing at a unique and amazing intersection of Free Speech and Main Street — and the X community is powerful and is here to welcome you."
"Did you watch Succession?" Swisher says. "Tom the pain sponge. That's who she is here."
Live shot from the intersection of Free Speech and Main Street pic.twitter.com/3WOxuxz6gM— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 30, 2023
Swisher goes on to slam Musk's trip to Israel earlier this week as "a PR stunt" and saying that "many people in Israel thought that was shameful for the government to do that."
And she also points to the multiple times that Musk has lashed out in the last year, against advertisers and others — it should be noted he also called Swisher, whom he's been friendly with for many years, an "asshole" in a text last November after she made some negative comments about him.
"What's fascinating is... the richest man in the world wants to say that advertisers are the cause of his problems. He's the cause of his problems. And the reason ads are down is because of how he behaves on the platform... It's his fault that he's losing all this money and he'll have to pay the price."
In September, Swisher booked both Yaccarino and former Twitter head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth to speak on the same day at the conference she founded, Vox Media's Code Conference. Roth resigned from Twitter a year ago after changes made by Musk made his position there untenable, he said — and he was subsequently doxxed by crazies over the Twitter Files crap and had to move after getting death threats.
Roth had one bit of advice to Yaccarino: "“You should be worried. I wish I had been more worried."
Top photo: Kara Swisher poses before discussing Brian Stelter's new book "Network Of Lies" at 92NY on November 14, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)