While major companies claim to support the LGBTQ community this Pride Month, some are still buying ads on Elon Musk’s Twitter, which has increasingly become a right-wing cesspool filled with anti-LGBTQ rhetoric — including from Musk himself. As he ushers in a new CEO, Musk has peddled anti-LGBTQ hate, interacting with anti-LGBTQ content and accounts at least 46 times during the first week of Pride Month.
Less than a month after Musk acquired Twitter, Media Matters found that nearly 50% of its advertisers had fled the platform — partly a result of Musk gutting content moderation. As misinformation, bigotry, and anti-LGBTQ hate have skyrocketed, Twitter is reportedly still struggling to draw these advertisers back. Musk’s latest move to address advertiser fears over the rise in extremist behavior on the site was hiring former NBCUniversal head of advertising Linda Yaccarino as the platform’s new CEO.
Yaccarino, who reportedly started her position this week, might be a respected advertising executive, but according to lawyers for the company, her leadership “will not result in a different content-moderation strategy for Twitter, a company that will still be owned by Musk and led by a person chosen by Musk” — suggesting the platform will remain a cesspool of extremist rhetoric and misinformation even under a new CEO.
This Pride Month, companies including USAA, Amazon, Apple, and HBO have expressed support for the LGBTQ community and the “fundamental human rights” of LGBTQ people. Yet these same companies have also continued to use their ad dollars to fund Musk’s platform and support his bigoted content.
At Twitter, Musk has peddled dangerous conspiracy theories, racist dog whistles, and anti-trans rhetoric. Notably, during the first week of Pride Month, Musk interacted with anti-LGBTQ content and accounts at least 46 times, including calling gender-affirming care “castration” and liking a tweet equating the LGBTQ community to the Nazis.
Here is a sampling of the anti-LGBTQ hate Musk has pushed in the beginning of June:
- On the first day of Pride Month, Twitter allowed Daily Wire host Matt Walsh’s virulently anti-trans movie What is a Woman? to stream on the platform, with Musk later removing any restrictions on the movie. Musk also interacted with Matt Walsh and Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing at least 5 times between June 1 and 2, and even promoted the film by sharing a Daily Wire tweet containing the entire 95-minute movie and claiming, “Every parent should watch this.” Daily Wire's tweet with the movie has since been viewed over 180 million times.
- Between June 1 and 7, Musk interacted with at least another 17 tweets espousing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, including one in which Musk called gender-affirming care “castration” and another expressing his agreement with removing “the TQ+ cult” from the LGBTQ community.
- On June 6, Musk replied in agreement with a tweet alleging that “autistic kids” are “the largest class of children targeted by the trans agenda,” and he replied “Good” to a tweet stating that Norway had recently taken steps to ban gender-affirming care for minors.
- In a response to a June 1 tweet from the bigoted far-right account “The Rabbit Hole,” Musk tweeted that he would be “actively lobbying to criminalize” gender-affirming care for anyone under 18, calling it a “major problem” and “utterly contemptible.”
- Musk liked a tweet criticizing “gender ideology” from extreme anti-LGBTQ account Libs of TikTok, which has used Twitter to attack the LGBTQ community and was suspended multiple times prior to Musk's takeover, including for hateful conduct. He also liked a tweet that called the LGBTQ community a “cult” and likened rainbow Pride flags to Nazi banners.
As Media Matters previously warned, Musk and his chaotic leadership have transformed Twitter into a “cesspool of right-wing misinformation and extremism.” Musk unilaterally reinstated dozens of right-wing accounts; amplified far-right ideology and users; and transformed Twitter’s verification process, which has resulted in the proliferation of conspiracy theories and violent content on the platform. If Musk’s behavior during this year’s Pride Month is any indication of the company’s future, it is clear that he will not stop peddling anti-LGBTQ bigotry and Twitter will continue to be a dangerous platform for the LGBTQ community.