Anti-Defamation League CEO claims people pushing for ban of organization are 'white supremacists'

Greenblatt said that he "doesn’t believe in cancel culture," but rather "council culture." 

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Wednesday morning’s episode of CNBC’s Squawk Box, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that those posting on social media for the ADL to be banned from Elon Musk's X were "white supremacists."

Greenblatt said after he posted a tweet after a meeting with Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, "that triggered a number of white supremacists to organize this hashtag campaign 'ban the ADL.'"

"This campaign went viral very quickly, with white supremacists, you know, hardened antisemites and other people spreading it across the service, it literally was a trending topic over the course of the weekend."

Greenblatt was asked whether he thinks that Musk is antisemitic, to which he said, "I have never said Elon Musk is antisemitic… and I don’t think Twitter as a platform is antisemitic, and as we’ve said here, hate speech is the price of free speech."

"But," he said, "let's acknowledge that when Elon Musk and the platform bring people, hardened antisemites back on, when they validate their rantings, when they algorithmically amplify them and allow it to spread," Greenblatt has to deal with the "real world consequences."

Greenblatt was confronted with reports that the ADL was urging advertisers to pull their ads from X. These reports prompted Musk to consider suing the group for defamation. Greenblatt said "we are not out there publicly or privately talking to advertisers, they will make the decisions they want to."

"We did call for a pause back in November after the acquisition. And then since then, since that initial statement, what we are doing is engaging with the management of the company trying to help them make it better," Greenblatt said of X.

"I understand they have a big business problem. I mean, Elon tweeted something I didn't know, that the advertising revenues down 60 percent. But look, brands are big boys and girls, they will make their own decisions."

Greenblatt said that he "doesn’t believe in cancel culture," but rather "council culture." 

"So someone makes a mistake you help them fix it. So what we've tried to do over the years with Twitter, with YouTube, with Facebook and all those platforms, with Reddit, with Discord I can go on and on is to work with them to make those platforms better."

Greenblatt challenged Musk "to find a single advertiser on whom we put any pressure because we’re simply not doing that."

"At the same time, I’m not going to stop calling out anti-Jewish hate. That’s my job as the head of the ADL to stop antisemitism, racism, and all forms of bigotry."

On Monday evening, Musk wrote on X that he was considering filing a defamation suit against the ADL, and "if they lose the defamation suit, we will insist that they drop the 'anti’ part of their name."

Musk claimed that the ADL has been trying to destroy his platform through asserting erroneous claims that both he and X are "anti-Semitic."

The ADL has posted articles on its website accusing then-Twitter of continuing "to host antisemitic threats and tropes."

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