Billionaire multi-CEO Elon Musk took a break from running his companies to take a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp Monday and attend a conference on antisemitism organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in Krakow.
Musk appears to have traveled to Poland with conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, and this seems to be an escalation in his apology tour after facing many accusations of antisemitism in the last year — following his trip to Israel last fall to visit sites of Hamas atrocities with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Musk's tenure as the owner of Twitter, which he wants us to call X, has been marked by many outcries and several high-profile incidents involving hate speech on the platform, and specifically antisemitism. Musk has repeatedly insisted that while antisemitic posts may exist on the platform, virtually no one is seeing them because of some kind of algorithmic magic. But then in mid-November he goes and boosts the profile of a clearly antisemitic post, wholeheartedly agreeing with it, and a bunch of big brands yanked their advertising from the platform.
Musk later called his retweet the "dumbest" post he'd ever made, but in nearly the same breath he told an audience at a New York Times conference two weeks later that big advertisers could all go fuck themselves for trying to "blackmail" him with their ad money.
The visit to Auschwitz Monday came a day earlier than originally planned. As the Associated Press reports, Musk was supposed to visit the death camp site on Tuesday with other leaders attending the EJA conference.
"Due to schedule concerns, before Elon Musk’s arrival to the European Jewish Association conference, he took part in a private visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Ben Shapiro and Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev," the EJA said in a statement. "Musk laid a wreath at the wall of death and took part in a short memorial ceremony and service by the Birkenau memorial."
At the conference later Monday, Musk repeated something he's said in the recent past about being "aspirationally Jewish" himself, and he said that hatred toward the Jewish people must be addressed.
Musk spoke from the stage at the EJA conference in conversation with Shapiro.
As for that hatred being on Xitter, as CNN reports, Musk said, "It’s never going to be zero if you’ve got 600 million people on the platform, expecting it to be zero is pretty unlikely." But, he claimed that there was less of it on Xitter than other platforms, vaguely citing "outside audits that we’ve had done."
Musk also admitted that he wasn't really aware until recently that antisemitism was much of a problem.
"I must admit to being somewhat frankly naive. In the circles that I move, I see almost no antisemitism," Musk said at the conference Monday.
That must have gone over well!
Per CNN, Musk also seemed to be plugging Xitter at the conference, telling other leaders to post more without the review of their staff, and making reference to his own "mistakes" of the past as if they were minor.
"It’s only me doing these posts. I don’t have a team or anything," Musk said, per CNN. WE KNOW, Elon!
"Every once in a while you make a mistake. You can’t win them all. Nobody bats 1,000," he said.
While Musk wasn't aware that antisemitism was such a problem, there were literal neo-Nazis marching with anti-abortion marchers past the Xitter building on Saturday.
Also, has Musk ever looked at Xitter outside of his own bubble of fanboys and VCs? Are we talking about the same platform? Because it was full of hate before he took over, he laid off most of the content moderators, and now he thinks it's mostly hate-free?
Top image: SpaceX, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives for a live interview with Ben Shapiro during the symposium on fighting antisemitism on January 22, 2024 in Krakow, Poland. The symposium on anti-semitism, organized by the European Jewish Association, was held ahead of international Holocaust remembrance day on January 27. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)