ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt Hits Back at Elon Musk Lawsuit Threat: ‘What We See is Deeply Troubling’


Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), reacted to billionaire Twitter owner Elon Musk’s lawsuit threat on CNN Tuesday by accusing Musk of emboldening antisemitism.

During an appearance on CNN Primetime, Greenblatt told host Abby Phillip:

There is a problem across all social media services. We’ve talked about it before, I’ve talked about it on this network, I’ve talked about it with Elon Musk, and the reality is this claim that Elon wants to sue us— I can’t really tell you what’s in his head, I’ve read the same tweets that you have, but what’s alarming is the rise of antisemitism across the country. Like, we’ve got to see the big picture here. Literally, anti-Jewish acts have reached historic levels in the United States.

Greenblatt told Phillip he had seen “grotesque antisemitism on Twitter” this week, which “started with this hashtag, #BanTheADL,” after he met with Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino.

Asked whether he had talked directly to Musk about “antisemitism on the platform or his amplification of the #BanTheADL slogan,” Greenblatt said:

I have certainly spoken to Elon Musk in the past, not over the last several days, but you are making a really important observation here. It is the amplification of this hateful slogan, this sort of hashtag campaign, and let me tell you, the people who were promoting it were a number of very bad actors, and when one of the most influential people in the world, the owner of the platform itself, is engaging with some of these actors who are notorious antisemites or conspiracy theorists or other sort of, again, what I would describe as bad actors with very hateful intent, that energizes them. That emboldens them, Abby.

The ADL CEO went on to say, “I actually am someone who deeply believes in the First Amendment, and I think hate speech, speech we don’t like, that’s the price of free speech. But the question is, are you elevating it? Are you expanding it? Are you making it easy to see for children and other people? Are you finding ways to de-amplify it and tamp it down?”

Greenblatt concluded the interview by claiming that his organization had “seen an increase in kind of QAnon hashtags” and “a lot of notorious antisemites re-platformed” since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last year.

“So I’ve gotta look at what we see, and what we see is deeply troubling,” he said.

Musk threatened to sue the ADL this week after accusing the organization of “destroying half the value” of his social network.

“To clear our platform’s name on the matter of anti-Semitism, it looks like we have no choice but to file a defamation lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League … oh the irony!” wrote Musk, before vowing, “If they lose the defamation suit, we will insist that they drop the the ‘anti’ part of their name.”

Last year, the ADL called on “advertisers to pause Twitter spending” following Musk’s acquisition of the platform. Musk alleged that the campaign pushed Twitter’s revenue down by 60%.

Watch above via CNN.

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