Elon Musk told CNBC’s David Faber on Tuesday that he doesn’t care if his inflammatory tweets scare off potentials Tesla Buyers or Twitter Advertisers.
“I’ll say whatever I want, and if the consequence is losing money, then so be it,” said Musk, who owns Twitter.
Musk has tweeted controversial posts for years, including conspiracy theories and comments that his critics say are largely discriminatory.
His defense comes after Musk drew renewed criticism for a tweet comparing liberal billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros to X-Men villain Magneto, a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
“He wants to destroy the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity,” Musk tweeted Monday.
Musk has previously criticized Soros, whose family office, Soros Fund Management, recently reduced its stake in Tesla. Soros, who is also Jewish, is a popular target for right-wing pundits and politicians and is often the subject of anti-Semitic attacks. Soros and his family fled the Nazis during World War II.
Critics said Musk’s tweets about Soros fit into a larger pattern of attacks on the 92-year-old investor and Democratic financier. “Musk’s comparison of Soros to Magneto is not accidental; it’s a nod to harmful anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish global control,” tweeted Alex Goldenberg, an analyst at the Network Contagion Research Institute. Israel’s Foreign Ministry also said Musk’s tweets had “anti-Semitic overtones.”
Musk denied being an anti-Semite on Tuesday. “I’m more of a Prosemite,” he said when Faber asked him about the criticism. Musk has also previously tweeted and removed memes featuring Hitler.
Faber also asked Musk on Tuesday why he tweeted a link to someone who said a mass shooting at a Texas mall earlier this month could be part of “bad psycho-surgery” or “psychological surgery.”
Investigators have been looking into whether the gunman whom police killed expressed white supremacist views because he was wearing an “RWDS” patch, a nod to the “Right Wing Death Squad” phrase used by extremists. He also had Nazi tattoos, including a swastika.
“I thought it would be silly to attribute it to white supremacy,” Musk said, adding that, in his opinion, there was no evidence that the shooter was white supremacy. “We shouldn’t attribute things to white supremacy if they’re – if they’re wrong.”
Since Musk took over Twitter last fall, the social media network has seen its ad revenue fall sharply as brands and businesses scrutinize changes to the platform, and some blatantly proclaimed new ownership.
Last week, Musk hired former NBCUniversal advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to replace him as Twitter’s CEO, a move widely seen as a way to boost Twitter’s advertising business. She started on Sunday.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.
– CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.