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‘Different discrimination’

DEI is a strategic priority for many organizations worldwide. The goal is to support different groups — including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations — in overcoming systemic discrimination through efforts such as training, mentorship and hiring programs.

However, DEI has received pushback from certain lawmakers and public figures, like the Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX CEO, who believe it has become a box-ticking exercise that entails reverse discrimination.

In December, a video was leaked on X, allegedly showing IBM (IBM) chief executive Arvind Krishna stating that bonuses would be tied to DEI hiring goals. Musk responded to the video, calling the action: “Extremely concerning and obviously illegal.”

The leaked video landed just weeks after IBM suspended all advertising on X, with the statement: “IBM has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination.”

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Advertisers flee from X

IBM is one of many major U.S. companies — including Apple (AAPL), Coca-Cola (KO), Disney (DIS), Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) and NBCUniversal parent Comcast (CMCSA) — to suspend their ads on X after Musk responded to an X post in November that claims Jewish people are stoking hatred against white people.

Musk — who recently told Joe Rogan he bought Twitter in 2022 to stop what he described as the “mind virus” of progressivism — has responded to the advertising boycott by telling his former advertisers to “Go f— yourself!”.

Despite claiming this advertising freeze will “kill the company,” his latest “DEI must DIE” post shows Musk is unlikely to alter his tone to please big brands using the platform.

U.S. advertising on the platform is down nearly 60% this year, a major concern for the company, which generated the vast majority of its revenue (90%) through advertising services in 2022.

It is believed the boycott could cost the company as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of the year, according to internal documents viewed by The New York Times.

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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft


Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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