Musk’s Twitter account ‘perpetuates racism’, McDonald’s exec says: report

  • Semafor reported that executives of some major advertisers were concerned about Elon Musk’s “racist rhetoric”.
  • The McDonald’s marketing chief feared Musk was “perpetuating racism” under “the guise of free speech”.
  • A Colgate-Palmolive executive said she was “aware of harmful and often racist rhetoric” from Musk, according to Semafor.

Representatives from major advertisers, including McDonald’s and Colgate-Palmolive, have expressed concern that Elon Musk’s free-speech program on Twitter “perpetuates racism”, according to an email chain obtained by Semafor.

The Twitter CEO is due to be interviewed April 18 at an advertising conference in Miami hosted by trade body MMA Global. NBCUniversal advertising manager Linda Yaccarino will ask him why advertisers should return to Twitter.

The social media platform’s revenue plunged in December after half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers pulled out the month following Musk’s controversial takeover in late October. More than two-thirds of those advertisers had not returned by the end of February, according to Pathmatics, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Musk previously said he bought Twitter to make social media app a “digital city square” that prioritizes freedom of expression. However, his methods have been condemned by some politicians, celebrities and advertisers – with some claiming the opposite.

Tariq Hassan, director of marketing and customer experience at McDonald’s, wrote in the thread seen by Semafor: “For many communities, his willingness to leverage success and personal financial resources to advance an agenda under the guise of freedom of expression perpetuates racism resulting [in] direct threats to their communities and the potential for compromised brand safety that we should all be concerned about. »

“Additionally, all of us who lead our brand investments across all platforms have had to navigate a post-acquisition situation that objectively can only be characterized as ranging from chaos to moments of irresponsibility,” he said. he added, according to Semafor.

Colgate-Palmolive’s chief customer experience officer, Diana Haussling, said she was “aware of Elon Musk’s harmful and often racist rhetoric,” according to the report.

Haussling added, according to Semafor: “While I am a big supporter of free speech and enterprise, we cannot ignore the impact of such hate speech. I especially cannot ignore as a black woman.”

Albertsons head of retail media Kristi Argyilan also reportedly raised concerns.

Semafor reported that Chris Riedy, Twitter’s global director of sales and marketing, did not defend Musk in his response but thanked advertisers for their comments.

“Twitter needs each of you and your feedback is critical in shaping what the company can become. Elon will be in Miami for most of Tuesday and wants to hear from you,” he said. , according to the Mail Chain report. .

Riedy added: “To that end, and in an effort to foster the healthiest conversation possible and to give each of you the opportunity to address him directly, why not bring this group together with Elon immediately after the session. with Linda?”

Insider reached out to Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that did not respond to the request.

Hassan, Haussling, Argyilan, McDonald’s, Colgate-Palmolive and Albertsons did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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