Elon Musk New York Times Interview during the November 2023 dealbook summit.

Elon Musk's New York Times DealBook Interview

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Updated Dec 01, 2023 at 05:28PM EST by Zach.

Added Dec 01, 2023 at 12:10PM EST by Adam.

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Overview

Elon Musk's New York Times DealBook Interview refers to a viral and controversial interview Elon Musk participated in with New York Times financial columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin during the November 2023 DealBook Summit in which he addressed then-recent controversies at Twitter / X, including the exodus of major advertisers from the site due in part to Musk appearing to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory on his platform. Several moments of the interview inspired discussion online, including Musk telling advertisers to "go f--- yourself," saying Sorkin was a "friend" then addressing him by the wrong name, implying X would go bankrupt and various physical tics that had some on social media hypothesizing that Musk appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Background

On November 29th, 2023, Elon Musk appeared at the New York Times' DealBook conference in New York City for an interview with Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin[1] (shown below).



Key moments from the piece that garnered significant press coverage and discourse included Musk telling advertisers, specifically Disney, to "go f--- yourself," saying the lack of advertisers means Twitter is about to go bankrupt, addressing Sorkin by the wrong name and saying, "My mind often feels like a very wild storm."

Musk also notably apologized for the controversial tweet during the interview, saying, "I mean, look, I’m sorry for that … post. It was foolish of me. Of the 30,000 it might be literally the worst and dumbest post I’ve ever done. And I’ve tried my best to clarify six ways from Sunday, but you know at least I think it’ll be obvious that in fact far from being antisemitic, I’m in fact philosemitic."[5]

Online Reactions

Clips from the interview circulated widely on social media shortly after, with many being very critical of Elon Musk's demeanor and statements during the segment. For example, on November 29th, 2023, Twitter user @esjesjesj posted the clip of Musk saying "go f--- yourself," commenting that after acknowledging the site's new CEO, Musk appears to admit that Twitter is "going to die," gaining over 1,800 retweets and 11,000 likes in two days (shown below, top).

On November 30th, the clip of Musk addressing Sorkin as "Jonathan" was posted by Twitter user @highbrow_nobrow, gaining over 2,400 retweets and 14,000 likes in one day (shown below, bottom).


The interview attracted a wide range of criticism and praise. Writing for the San Francisco Gate,[1] Drew Magary opined that the interview marked the end of Elon Musk, writing, "So it’s over for you, Elon Musk. You are a public failure of a man." MSNBC[2] wrote that in one exchange, Musk continued to push antisemitism. In one exchange, Musk said:

Prominent people in the Jewish community (helped fund) demonstrations for Hamas in every major city in the West. If you generically, without condition, fund persecuted groups … some of those persecuted groups, unfortunately, want your annihilation.

MSNBC stated in its article, titled "Why Elon Musk’s ‘f--- yourself’ Dealbook moment wasn’t the worst part of the interview," that this was an antisemitic statement, in line with the conspiracy theory that Jews fund protests to sow social disorder.

Some online, however, were fans of the interview, opining that it showed Musk was taking a principled stance for free speech against advertisers.

For example, on November 30th, 2023, right-wing political commentator Ian Miles Cheong [3] wrote, "Attacks on Elon Musk and 𝕏 are part of a greater coordinated effort to bring about censorship, control, and an end to free speech. They want you pacified and silenced--Elon is standing in the way," gaining over 5,000 retweets and 22,000 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).


lan Miles Cheong @stillgray Attacks on Elon Musk and X are part of a greater coordinated effort to bring about censorship, control, and an end to free speech. They want you pacified and silenced-Elon is standing in the way. 12:30 AM Nov 30, 2023 ...

Some surmised that Elon Musk was under the influence of drugs during the interview, with many guessing he may have been on ketamine. On November 30th, Twitter user @keewa[4] wrote that Musk appeared to be on ketamine, gaining over 20 retweets and 200 likes in one day (shown below).


keewa.bsky.social @keewa Anyone who's tried to have a conversation with someone on massive quantities of ketamine will find this very familiar evan @esjesjesj. Nov 29 This exchange is really illuminating. He is incapable of understanding the interviewer. He keeps repeating himself like he's in some sort of fugue state. The New York Times DealBook Summit The New York Time 1:36 3:14 AM Nov 30, 2023 DealBook Summit Elon Musk ...

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