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Elon Musk’s crusade to demonize the Anti-Defamation League is showing no signs of ending.
The billionaire, burning white-hot anger at the Jewish nonprofit because it had the audacity to point out how hate speech has flourished on his X/Twitter platform, continued on Wednesday smearing the ADL and unleashing a ferocious verbal assault on its chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt.
The unrelenting stream of menacing posts targeting the ADL has not been without consequence. Greenblatt told CNN on Wednesday that the ADL has seen a surge in threats directed at the organization since Musk began waging his campaign of bullying against the renowned institution. As a result, Greenblatt said, the ADL has been forced to increase its security.
“We always receive threatening language,” Greenblatt said by phone. “I get it personally. It’s directed at other staff. But it certainly has intensified in the last week.”
Greenblatt noted that the vile attacks against the ADL coincide with incidents of antisemitism rising across the country. He said that acts of hate in the US — such as harassment, vandalism, and violence — have reached an “all time high” since the ADL started tracking them more than four decades ago.
“What starts online, often ends up on the ground,” Greenblatt warned, pointing to how the #BanTheADL hashtag amplified by Musk jumped from Twitter/X to actual protesters in recent days.
Nevertheless, despite the ominous climate, Greenblatt said that the ADL remains undeterred in its mission and insisted that it will not be intimidated.
“For over 100 years, the ADL has been the leading anti-hate organization in the country fighting raging anti-semites, wild bigots, hardened anti-Zionists. We’ve come under pressure from elected officials, religious leaders, and other hardened criminals,” Greenblatt said. “So we have this situation now. At the end of the day, I’m not really fazed.”
X did not respond to a request for comment.
Greenblatt said that while Musk is blaming the organization for its advertising woes, he has not been talking to advertisers. The ADL was part of a coalition of groups last year that called on companies to pause advertisements on the social media platform in the wake of the Musk acquisition. But Greenblatt said that in the months since, it has “not in any meaningful way been activating that.”
While Musk has said advertising revenue at Twitter/X is down approximately 60% (he has not elaborated on the figure), major companies are still promoting their brands on the service — even as its owner escalates his ugly offensive against the ADL.
In the last 48 hours, CNN has spotted advertisements for Apple, McDonald’s, Gatorade, Ritz Crackers, Samsung, Wendy’s, Red Bull, NFL, MLB, Paramount, State Farm, IBM, and 20th Century Fox. News outlets such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg, CNBC, Puck, and Axios have also continued advertising on the platform, despite Musk’s attacks on newsrooms.
Greenblatt declined to provide a direct answer when asked whether the ADL believed companies should still be pausing, or abandoning altogether, their advertising campaigns on Twitter/X. But he did suggest that whatever their decision, it would reflect on how serious they are about upholding the values that they purport to stand for.
“These brands need to think about their values and the values they profess and how those values are reflected when their brands appear next to toxic content,” Greenblatt said, adding that “advertisers will make their own decisions.”
Greenblatt noted that companies often “s