Since the terrorist organization Hamas’ attack on Israel, X (formerly Twitter) has placed ads for MLB, the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers on verified antisemitic accounts that collectively have over one million followers. Those accounts are run by people who have denied the Holocaust, attacked Judaism as “by far the most disgusting religion” and “a death cult built on the blood of murdered babies,” and wondered, “Why are we supposed to care about the ethnic cleansing of Jews when you couldn't care less about the ethnic cleansing of whites?”
X’s placement of ads on those virulently antisemitic accounts is further confirmation that CEO Linda Yaccarino’s promises to advertisers about brand safety are empty. In the midst of advertisers’ concerns, she recently said that her company has been “demonstrating its absolute commitment to combating antisemitism on the platform” and that “antisemitism is evil and X will always work to fight it on our platform.”
But that’s not been the case: Observers have documented that antisemitism is rampant on X and furthered, in part, by owner Elon Musk’s own behavior. Media Matters has also shown that X has placed ads for brands directly on pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi accounts. Ads have also appeared next to unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish people and 9/11.
Advertisers are also supporting a platform that’s used for graphic content and violent propaganda. The New York Times reported that “violent videos and graphic images have flooded social media” after Hamas attacked Israel and “many of the posts have been seeded by Hamas to terrorize civilians and take advantage of the lack of content moderation on some social media sites — particularly X and Telegram — according to a Hamas official and social media experts interviewed by The New York Times.”
After X was criticized for putting ads for the NFL on prominent white nationalist accounts, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said, in part, that “as soon as this was brought to our attention, we immediately expressed our concerns to X to understand and rectify the issue.”
Media Matters has now found that the issue has clearly not been rectified for the NFL. And the problem extends and will undoubtedly continue to extend to other advertisers who choose to trust Yaccarino and X’s platitudes.
We examined the verified accounts of Lucas Gage, E. Michael Jones, Stew Peters, Andrew Torba, and Way of the World — all of which have at least 50,000 followers and regularly use X to engage in antisemitism. Among the ads appearing on these accounts included those for MLB, the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. As verified accounts with such large followings, these figures could theoretically receive revenue from those ads under the social platform’s revenue sharing program. (At least one of the accounts has received money through the program.)
In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team’s ads were paired with promotions for either BetMGM or Little Caesars.
X claims that it does not allow “the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion” or a suite of other identities, but it still hasn’t suspended these accounts.
Here are a few examples of how those sports ads appear next to harmful content:
Here is an example of an NFL ad appearing next to attacks on Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce by Stew Peters, who recently aired a segment calling for the execution of Kelce and Taylor Swift:
The following is background on the five accounts.
Lucas Gage (Angelo John Gage)
“EVERYTHING connects and leads back to the jews — the evil jews.”
Gage is a neo-Nazi who has said that “Judaism is by far the most disgusting religion, ever” and called Jewish people “Christ killers” on fellow antisemite Stew Peters’ show. He also “wrote on the racist Web forum Stormfront that he had just recently found out about ‘the real Jewish question and the whole ww2 and hitler truth.’ It was a shock, he said, ‘but EVERYTHING connects and leads back to the jews — the evil jews.’” He has recently written posts on X denying the Holocaust and complaining about Jewish people “dominating important sectors of a nation.”
E. Michael Jones
“[There’s been a] creation of myths like the whole World War II story, including the Holocaust, that whole narrative as a way of — that increased Jewish power and the result was that they were able to impose their views more and more on the entire country.”
Jones is a writer whose “antisemitic writings are premised on the idea that Judaism is inherently treacherous and belligerent towards Christianity, and that Catholic doctrine obligates the faithful to oppose Judaism, regardless of the behavior or beliefs of individual Jews.” He is a Holocuast denier who recently wrote The Holocaust Narrative, which claims that “the Holocaust story is the creation of a series of narratives that began with Allied and Hollywood propaganda campaigns in WWII to cover war crimes committed by Eisenhower and the Soviet Union.”
Judaism “is a death cult built on the blood of murdered babies.”
Stew Peters is a streaming host who uses his X account to attack people for being Jewish; push white nationalism; and endorse violence against politicians and LGBTQ advocates. He recently called Jewish people “CHRIST killers” and said, “I will stand with Israel after Israel bows to Christ.” He has also complained of Jewish people: “Support for homos, trans, abortion, and the unchecked illegal invasion of every country on earth isn't exactly a message of morality.”
“We don't want people who are Jewish. … This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country.”
Andrew Torba is the white nationalist founder of Gab, a social media platform that’s been a haven for neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and other extremists. In 2018, a Gab user killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue after posting about his plans on the site. Torba has openly stated that he doesn’t want Jewish people to be part of public life. Elon Musk has interacted with Torba.
Way of the World
“Why are we supposed to care about the ethnic cleansing of Jews when you couldn't care less about the ethnic cleansing of whites? At least you have your own ethnostate. #WhiteGenocide.”
Way of the World is a white nationalist meme account that attacks Black people. It frequently posts antisemitic attacks, including writing: “Jews are funding the ongoing third world invasion of Europe”; “Hard to say who I despise more: the white liberal hypocrites or the Jew who has dedicated his life to destroying their white neighborhoods”; and “I do not stand for Jews. I do not stand for Muslims. I do not stand for any so-called minority. I stand for the well-being of MY people and no one else. THIS is what nationalism is. Don't be fooled.”