Fact Check

Was This Disney CEO Bob Iger's Response to Musk's 'F--- Yourself' Remark?

Iger allegedly said, “I have a lot of respect for Elon,” after Musk told advertisers, including Disney, to "go fuck yourselves.”

Published Dec 1, 2023

 (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Image Via Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
After Elon Musk told advertisers, including Disney CEO Bob Iger, to go “fuck yourself,” Iger responded, “I have a lot of respect for Elon and what he's accomplished. [...] We felt the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us and we decided we'd pull our advertising.”

Iger said he had “respect” for Musk before Musk said to “go fuck yourself,” not after. Iger has not made any comment in the aftermath of Musk’s criticism the companies who pulled advertisements from X.

On Nov. 29, 2023, Elon Musk raised eyebrows at The New York Times Dealbook Summit when he emphatically told companies who had pulled advertisements from his platform, X, to “go fuck yourself.” He also singled out Disney CEO Bob Iger, saying, “Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey Bob! If you’re in the audience.”

A post on X claimed that in response to the above comment, Iger said he had a lot of “respect” for Musk and what he had accomplished, but, “We felt the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us and we decided we'd pull our advertising.”

Iger and Musk did make the above statements, but not in the order presented in the tweet. Iger said he had “respect” for Musk and his accomplishments hours before Musk told him and other advertisers to “go fuck yourself.” As of this writing, Iger has not responded in the aftermath of the X CEO’s controversial remarks. We thus rate the above claim as False.

Companies began pulling advertisements from X after Musk posted a message in mid-November 2023 that appeared to agree with antisemitic sentiments. In response to a post by another user who said Jewish people were stoking anti-white sentiment and referenced the "Great Replacement" — the conspiracy theory that non-white people are being brought into the U.S. to replace white voters — Musk wrote "You have said the actual truth." Musk has since apologized and visited Israel after the uproar.

Iger and Musk's comments were made at different times at the Dealbook Summit. According to the summit schedule, Iger spoke around 2:08 p.m. ET on Nov. 29,  while Musk was scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. Reporting from the summit shows that Iger made his comment earlier in the afternoon during an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who said, “We are going to see Elon Musk in a little bit.”

Sorkin asked Iger about the decision to stop advertising on X. Iger said:

I have a lot of respect for Elon and what he has accomplished. [...] We know that Elon is larger than life in many respects, and that his name is very much connected to the companies he founded or he owns. Whether it’s Tesla or SpaceX, or now X. By him taking the position he took in a public manner, we just felt that the association with that position and Elon Musk and X was not necessarily a positive one for us, and we decided we'd pull our advertising. We are allowing entities of the company to use X as a platform to communicate, ABC News is a good example of that, ESPN and others [...].

Later that day Sorkin sat down with Musk on the same stage. Musk said the trip to Israel was not an “apology tour” and he was not antisemitic. Sorkin asked him about companies who had withdrawn their advertisements from X, even mentioning that they talked to Iger earlier in the day. Musk’s response:

I hope they stop. Don’t advertise. [...] If somebody's gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money? Go fuck yourself. Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is. Hey, Bob, if you're in the audience. [...]  What this advertising boycott is going to do, it's going to kill the company. And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail.

Reuters noted that Iger had spoken earlier at the event and said that Disney felt the association with X following Musk's move "was not a positive one for us.” Disney did not respond to Reuter’s request for a comment about Musk’s latest remark.


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Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.