Elon Musk Files Lawsuit Against Media Matters; Media Matters Responds
Twitter/X owner Elon Musk followed up on his threat from over the weekend, filing a lawsuit against Media Matters over its recent reporting.
- Elon Musk's Twitter/X sues Media Matters for defamatory reporting.
- Media Matters accused Twitter/X of plasing ads for top firms near hate speech posts.
- The lawsuit seeks to halt Media Matters' reporting; claims fabricating data.
- Media Matters stands firm, claiming they'll win against Musk's "meritless" suit.
Last week, Media Matters for America went live with a report that flagged five major companies that had their ads running next to posts promoting antisemitism (including Hitler quotes and Holocaust denial) and other forms of hate on Elon Musk-owned Twitter/X- including IBM, Apple, NBCUniversal's Bravo, Oracle & Comcast's Xfinity. In a follow-up report later in the week, Media Matters also added Amazon, NBA Mexico, NBCUniversal Catalyst, Action Network & Club for Growth to the list of companies or organizations whose ads they reported having found next to hate-filled hashtags and messaging. Over subsequent days, a number of companies suspended their ads from the social media service – including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Lionsgate, IBM, and Apple.
After Twitter/X CEO Linda Yaccarino pushed back on the news site's reporting – questioning the manner in which the news site gathered the date for its reporting – Musk posted over the weekend that the company would file a "thermonuclear lawsuit" against Media Matters on Monday – and that's exactly what the company did.
"Defendant Media Matters for America is a self-proclaimed media watchdog that decided it would not let the truth get in the way of a story it wanted to publish about X Corp," begins the lawsuit that was filed late on Monday. Filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division, the core of the complaint seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction against Media Matters' reporting.
"Media Matters has manipulated the algorithms governing user experience on X to bypass safeguards and create images of X's largest advertisers' paid posts adjacent to racist, incendiary content, leaving the false impression that these pairings are anything but what they actually are: manufactured, inorganic, and extraordinarily rare," continued the 15-page filing.
Following Musk's initial threat of a lawsuit, Media Matters President Angelo Carusone had this to share in a statement: "Far from the free speech advocate he claims to be, Musk is a bully who threatens meritless lawsuits in an attempt to silence reporting that he even confirmed is accurate. Musk admitted the ads at issue ran alongside the pro-Nazi content we identified. If he does sue us, we will win."
In a follow-up after Musk's filing, Carusone added, "Elon Musk has spent the last few days making meritless legal threats, elevating bizarre conspiracy theories, and lobbing vicious personal attacks against his 'enemies' online. Even if he does not follow through with his threat to sue, the volatility of actions reinforce why major brands are rightly skittish of partnering with X. We are going to continue our work undeterred. If he sues us, we will win."