Elon Musk’s Attack on George Soros Sparks Controversy and Accusations of Anti-Semitism on Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has come under fire after attacking billionaire George Soros on Twitter, just days after Soros’s investment fund sold off its entire stake in Tesla. In a series of tweets, Musk accused Soros of hating humanity and wanting to erode the fabric of civilization, before comparing him to the Marvel comic book character Magneto, a Jewish supervillain.[0] Soros, who is also a Holocaust survivor, is a frequent target of anti-Jewish hatred.[1] The tweets were widely criticised as potentially anti-Semitic, with leading Jewish groups and pundits among those condemning Musk.[2] Israel’s Foreign Ministry also accused Musk of failing to tackle anti-Semitism on Twitter.

Musk’s attack on Soros came after the investor’s holding company sold off its $16m stake in Tesla, leading some Twitter users to speculate that this was the motivation for Musk’s outburst. The attack also followed a series of controversial tweets and statements from Musk, including questioning whether the gunman in a recent Texas mall shooting was a white supremacist. Investigators have found evidence of neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs on the shooter’s social media accounts, but Musk continues to deny their validity, and has accused investigative news organisation Bellingcat, which reported on the shooter’s accounts, of engaging in “psy-ops”.

Musk’s tweets have put him at the centre of a debate about freedom of speech on social media, and the responsibility of platform owners to tackle hate speech and misinformation.[3] Critics have accused Musk of using his position as Twitter CEO to promote conspiracy theories and discriminatory views, while failing to take action against hate speech and anti-Semitism on the platform. Musk has defended his right to express his opinions, stating that he will say what he wants to say, even if it means losing money.[4] However, many argue that his tweets risk inflaming tensions and promoting division, particularly at a time when social media is already under scrutiny for its role in spreading hate speech and extremism.

0. “Elon Musk: ‘I’ll say what I want, and if the consequence of that is losing money, so be it’” CNBC, 16 May. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/16/elon-musk-defends-inflammatory-tweets-ill-say-what-i-want.html

1. “Elon Musk doesn’t understand George Soros — or Magneto — but he’s great at antisemitism” Forward, 16 May. 2023, https://forward.com/culture/547144/elon-musk-magneto-george-soros-holocaust-marvel/

2. “‘George Soros hates humanity’: Elon Musk slams billionaire investor days after he dumps entire Tesla holdings” Business Today, 16 May. 2023, https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/world/story/george-soros-hates-humanity-elon-musk-slams-billionaire-investor-days-after-he-dumps-entire-tesla-holdings-381510-2023-05-16

3. “Elon Musk Claims There’s ‘No Proof’ Swastika-Tatted Texas Shooter Was White Supremacist” Rolling Stone, 17 May. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/elon-musk-cnbc-interview-texas-shooting-1234736809/

4. “Elon Musk Defends George Soros Tweets And Other Conspiracy Theory Posts: “I’ll Say What I Want to Say, And If The Consequence Of That Is Losing Money, So Be It”” Deadline, 16 May. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/05/elon-musk-twitter-george-soros-antisemitism-1235369376/