Musicians Gene Simmons and Neil Young have separately announced their decisions to leave Twitter (which owner Elon Musk has renamed “X”). Their announcements arrive amidst a flurry of companies choosing to pull advertisements from the site after Musk backed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform.
Young — who made waves in 2022 for his decision to remove his music from Spotify in protest of its platforming Joe Rogan — shared a statement about the decision on his site, Neil Young Archives. “We are stopping all use of X we can control,” he wrote. “For reasons that should be obvious to the richest man on Earth, we are taking this action against his company.” The blog post included a photo of Musk’s face with the caption, “Teslas should fly flags of love — not hate.”
Continuing his message, Young added, “For our many Palestinian friends and our many Jewish friends, we do need to start over in the present and release our terrible connections to the past. As bad as they are, they need to be forgotten so we can be free to move on in life together, all humanity, focused on saving our planet for future generations of all people.”
Simmons’ announcement was brief, simply stating, “Friends, I’ve decided to end my X/Twitter posting,” along with links to his active social media accounts.
Both Simmons and Young’s departures are likely caused by Musk’s recent antisemitic comments. On November 15th, Musk responded to a tweet perpetuating an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jewish people are “pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” Musk responded, “You have said the actual truth.”
The tweet, along with reports that ads were appearing next to white nationalist content on the app, have prompted Disney, Apple, Lionsgate, Comcast/NBCUniversal, and IBM to pull ads from the platform.
Musk’s tweet even sparked a response from the White House. BBC reports that White House spokesperson Andrew Bates condemned Musk’s statement, and called attention to the fact that the same conspiracy theory motivated the perpetrator of the 2018 Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh — which was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history.
Simmons and Young are not the first celebrities to leave Twitter because of Musk. Trent Reznor, Jack White, and Elton John are among many names to formally depart from the app in response to Musk’s leadership.
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) November 18, 2023