Elon's Neo-Nazi Super Bowl Party
Twitter's Dark MAGA owner is cashing in on hate during TV's biggest live event
Perhaps you’re old enough to remember “Nipplegate,” the 2004 Super Bowl scandal involving half-time show performer Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.”
As Media Ethics Magazine noted, the incident caused national moral outrage, “brought the word ‘nipple shield’ into dinnertime family conversation” and led to both “congressional hearings and a federal investigation into indecency.”
Backlash against nipple shields meant that the 2005 Super Bowl on Fox Network was a tamer affair, with ads that would have been fine on primetime shows being censored before they aired, and even one ad—for Go Daddy—being shown once during the first half and then getting banned before its scheduled second airing.
It wasn’t until 2006, two years after Nipplegate, that Twitter was founded. Since then, the platform has become both “an essential part of every sport’s marketing mix” and a “second screen” millions stay engaged with during the year’s biggest live TV events.
Sunday will represent Twitter’s first Super Bowl under the leadership of the world’s richest exploding carmaker Elon Musk. And, even as the user experience gets more janky on his erratic watch, still-CEO (“Vox Populi” be damned) Musk will be trying to squeeze every possible ad dollar out of the game.
For Twitter advertisers in 2023, the problem won’t be nipples. It will be Nazis.
As documented by the Anti-Defamation League on February 9, “in recent weeks, a number of problematic groups and individuals have had their accounts reinstated on Twitter, have increased the use of their existing accounts or have joined the platform as new accounts.”
Ali Alexander, who “has used the platform to endorse antisemitic figures such as Ye and Nick Fuentes and… made antisemitic references to ‘Jewish Supremacists.’”
Andrew Anglin, “founder of the antisemitic neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer” who has “capitalized on his notoriety by tweeting conspiracy theories, racist tropes and support for figures like Ye and Nick Fuentes.”
Liz Crokin, a “prominent Pizzagate and QAnon booster” known for “unfounded, conspiratorial allegations about Hillary Clinton’s ‘crimes against children’ and other false accusations based on the pervasive ‘groomer’ narratives of the far right.”
Tim Gionet (Baked Alaska), a “white supremacist live streamer” whose reinstatement has resurfaced “many of his tweets targeting Jewish people.” On December 14, 2022, Gionet posted a Twitter poll asking his followers: “Should I say the n word?”
Others reinstated by Musk include Nick Fuentes, the traitor Mike Flynn, Laura Loomer and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, along with many more “notable users who have a history of spreading hate speech, misleading information and conspiratorial rhetoric.”
On Super Bowl Sunday, Elon Musk will be cashing in on hate.
Also on Thursday, the same day the ADL sounded their alarm, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) released new research that attempts to document how much cash Twitter’s “worst hate mongers and conspiracy theorists” are helping Elon Musk generate.
Simply looking at ad placements next to 10 of the most problematic accounts: “CCDH’s analysis estimates that continuing to place these ads next to the accounts of these 10 bad actors alone could generate up to $19 million in annual advertising revenue for Twitter.”
CCDH is a member of the #StopToxicTwitter coalition, which consists of more than 60 civil-society and civil-rights groups. On Thursday, the coalition renewed its call for more companies “to join the 500+ advertisers that stopped advertising on Twitter and send a strong message to Elon Musk that they will not bankroll hate and disinformation.”
Thursday’s CCDH statement accompanying the new “Toxic Twitter” report specifically highlighted the potential damage to Super Bowl advertisers such as Apple Music, the official sponsor of the NFL Super Bowl halftime show, Amazon, an NFL national media partner, and the NFL itself, all of which continue to advertise on Twitter:
In one example, an Amazon Prime Video ad promoting a film starring Jennifer Lopez appears next to a tweet by Andrew Anglin in which he claims that the “only career that a woman is actually capable of on merit is prostitution.”
In another, an NFL Super Bowl playoff ad featuring comedian Kevin Hart is displayed adjacent to anti-vaccine disinformation posted by Emerald Robinson.
An Apple ad featuring actor Timothée Chalamet is displayed next to a tweet in which Rogan O’Handley promotes the debunked claim that Ukraine was developing biological weapons with the assistance of the U.S. government.
Among those quoted by CCDH is Nicole Gill, Executive Director of Accountable Tech, who says: “No amount of shiny Super Bowl commercials can make up for paying to place ads next to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Elon Musk has made it clear that he will stop at nothing for clicks and profit — and companies that continue to play his game are only hurting their own brand and bottom line. It’s time for companies to stop funding Musk’s toxic Twitter. Full stop.”
In addition to Super Bowl advertisers the #StopToxicTwitter coalition is also urging other advertisers featured in the new report — including Merrill Lynch, Peacock TV, The Wall Street Journal and Wendy’s — to stop all Twitter advertisements.
And if you spend time scrolling through Twitter during the big game, you’ll be joining these advertisers in “bankrolling hate & lies.”
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PLUS: Some bonus “Trump is a pussy ass bitch” content: Seth Meyers was as pleased as I was to note that Chrissy Teigen’s infamous tweet was now part of the congressional record:
Enjoy your weekend!