The Walt Disney Company has come under fire yet again, but rather than facing questions about its ads themselves, the company is facing backlash for its choice of advertising venues and for seemingly refusing to take a stand against pro-9/11 attacks rhetoric and content online.
Disney has been one of the top advertisers on X, formerly known as Twitter. But in recent days, the House of Mouse, along with companies like Apple, IBM, Lionsgate Entertainment, and others, have announced a parting of ways when it comes to ad campaigns on the popular social media platform headed by billionaire business tycoon, investor, and CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk.
A Rise in Antisemitic Content on X
The move comes in response to the continued sharing of hate speech, pro-Nazi content, and other rhetoric deemed antisemitic in nature on the platform. In a recent report, the Anti-Defamation League claims that since Elon Musk acquired the social media platform in October 2022, there has been a sharp rise in antisemitism on the site. According to the report, antisemitic sentiments, posts, and comments have risen nearly 1,000% in just over a year.
Media Matters for America, a non-profit organization and media watchdog group, has also investigated the social media platform’s placement of ads. According to the group’s findings, major companies who advertised on the platform had their ads shared next to content with “white nationalist hashtags,” even though they were promised such placement wouldn’t happen.
Elon Musk Sues in Response to Reports of Egregious Ad Placement
On Monday, Elon Musk filed suit against Media Matters in response to the organization’s report. This comes on the same day that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton brought a suit against the watchdog group for potentially fraudulent activity. Angelo Carusone, President of Media Matters, says the organization will defend itself against the suits.
“This is a frivolous lawsuit meant to bully X’s critics into silence,” Carusone said in a statement. “Media Matters stands behind its reporting and looks forward to winning in court.”
Disney Comes Under Fire for “Hypocrisy”
But Media Matters for America isn’t the only entity coming under fire in the latest move related to X’s alleged advertising practices. The Walt Disney Company, which pulled its ads from X alongside several other major entities, has continued its relationship with the TikTok social media platform despite the fact that a document, which was written by Saudi Arabian-born terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden in 2002, has gone viral on the platform.
A TikTok video posted by The Libs on Sunday shares a screenshot of a Disney ad on X and reads:
“This ad from Disney is currently on TikTok. Disney canceled their X ads after a dishonest campaign from Media Matters. Their ads are still on the app that just a few days ago had a viral trend to praise Osama bin Laden and justify the 9/11 attacks.”
This ad from Disney is currently on TikTok. Disney canceled their X ads after a dishonest campaign from Media Matters.
Their ads are still on the app that just a few days ago had a viral trend to praise Osama Bin Laden and justify the 9/11 attacks. pic.twitter.com/rhuVy6YAl1
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 19, 2023
In the document penned by Bin Laden, titled “Letter to America,” the terrorist leader blamed the United States’ intervention in the Middle East for the deaths of Afghans and Palestinians. It also served as an explanation of the ideology behind the devastating attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
In the document titled “Letter to America,” Bin Laden blamed the U.S.’s intervention in the Middle East for the bloodshed of both Afghans and Palestinians. It also aimed to explain the ideology behind the 9/11 attacks. On November 16, TikTok reportedly banned any content promoting the letter penned by Bin Laden.
Users Take Issue With Disney NOT Taking Issue With TikTok
Users on X have called out Disney’s decision to continue its partnership with TikTok–after cutting advertising ties with X–as hypocritical, as they question why the entertainment behemoth takes issue with advertising on X due to its antisemitic content, but not with TikTok due to its recent trend of pro-Bin Laden rhetoric.
Some speculate that the reason has to do with Disney’s admitted enormous success since partnering with TikTok.
“Disney pulled their ads from Twitter X,” reads a post by one user, “yet they are keeping their ads on TikTok, which is currently promoting Osama bin Laden.”
“Disney isn’t about canceling ads for any reason other than they hate Musk and free speech,” claimed another post.
“If you haven’t already canceled Disney Plus,” another user asks, “what the hell is wrong with you?”
Hypocrisy or Cost-Cutting Strategy?
Other users, however, shared their thoughts about a possible strategy Disney might be using in an effort to trim advertising costs for the company.
@disney 100 years of stories, magic, and memories! Celebrate #Disney100 with a special experience on @TikTok ♬ original sound – Disney
“Let’s face it, with how badly the ‘woke’ stuff is tanking, this is probably a hidden way for Disney to attempt to cut some costs,” posted one user. “Do we know if they are spending as much on TikTok as the ads would have cost on X?”