Days after boosting an antisemitic campaign to ban the Anti-Defamation League from X, owner and self-described “free-speech absolutist” Elon Musk proposed polling the social media platform’s users on booting the civil rights advocacy group from the site formerly known as Twitter.
The initial impetus behind the campaign appears to be a meeting ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt had with Twitter/X CEO Linda Yaccarino about addressing the rampant hate speech on the site. After Greenblatt tweeted about their “very frank + productive conversation,” a number of prominent right-wing accounts pushed the hashtag #BanTheADL while claiming the group was stifling free speech.
Musk eventually engaged with Keith Woods, a YouTuber with connections to notorious white supremacists Nick Fuentes and Richard Spencer. Besides liking a post in which Woods said the ADL is “financially blackmailing social media companies into removing free speech on their platform,” Musk also replied that the “ADL has tried very hard to strangle X/Twitter.”
While Musk’s feud with the ADL has been going on for a while now, it ramped up this spring when the group called him out for comparing philanthropist George Soros—a long-standing boogeyman of the antisemitic right—to comic-book supervillain Magneto. After the organization said Musk’s behavior could embolden extremists, the edgelord billionaire replied that they should “just drop the ‘A’” from ADL.
“ADL is unsurprised yet undeterred that antisemites, white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and other trolls have launched a coordinated attack on our organization. This type of thing is nothing new,” an ADL spokesperson told The Daily Beast on Saturday about the hashtag campaign.
“This onslaught comes following our participation in the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington, where ADL proudly marched shoulder-to-shoulder with African-American leaders and those from other minority communities,” the spokesperson added. “It also follows a meeting with the leadership of X, formerly known as Twitter, that clearly upset these hateful groups.”
The ADL flack concluded: “Such insidious efforts don’t daunt us. Instead, they drive us to be unflinching in our commitment to fight hate in all its forms and ensure the safety of Jewish communities and other marginalized groups.”