Hyundai is the latest brand to pause advertising on X due to antisemitism

Apr 18, 2024, 7:44 PM

FILE - The Hyundai company logo hangs over a long row of cars at a car dealership in Centennial, Co...

FILE - The Hyundai company logo hangs over a long row of cars at a car dealership in Centennial, Colo., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Hyundai and LG Energy Solution are spending an additional $2 billion and hiring an extra 400 workers to make batteries at the automaker's sprawling U.S. electrical vehicle plant that's under construction in Georgia according to an announcement Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(CNN) —Hyundai said on Thursday it paused advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter, a day after an ad from the automaker reportedly appeared adjacent to an antisemitic and pro-Hitler post on the social media site.

On Wednesday, user Nancy Levine Stearns posted screenshots of a paid Hyundai ad above an antisemitic post from a verified “premium” account. The account posts tweets that deny the Holocaust and perpetuate antisemitic rhetoric.

In response to a CNN inquiry that included Stearns’ post, a spokesperson for Hyundai replied: “We have paused our ads on X and are speaking to X directly about brand safety to ensure this issue is addressed.”

Hyundai is the latest prominent company to pause advertising on X, after its owner Elon Musk publicly embraced an antisemitic theory favored by white supremacists in 2023.

NBC News first reported the pause.

X has suspended the antisemitic account that was adjacent to the ad, the head of business operations at X, Joe Benarroch, said in an email to CNN. The account’s bio also had antisemitic tropes, Benarroch said.

Benarroch said Hyundai has been running a Corporate level account on X, focused on climate change ads aimed at reaching policy makers. He said the company’s ad agency did not activate Brand Safety settings, and the campaign took place without X’s direct sales team. X’s Brand Safety settings allow advertisers to make sure their ads aren’t running alongside posts that companies might find distasteful.

“As a result one ad ran adjacent to a post – that X has since acted on and even suspended the account,” Benarroch said in an email to CNN.

But many of these accounts still exist, according to NBC News. An analysis from the outlet this week found 150 verified premium accounts that have “posted or amplified pro-Nazi content.”

X News called the report “gotcha articles” and claimed NBC did not disclose the full extent of its research to the site.

Musk in November 2023 agreed with a post on X that claimed that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites,” calling it the “actual truth.”

Musk apologized for the post later that month but told advertisers who halted their spending on X over concerns about antisemitic content to “go f**k” themselves.

After visiting Auschwitz in January, he said X has less antisemitic content than other social media platforms, but conceded that he wasn’t aware until recently that antisemitism was a pervasive problem in the United States.

CNN’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

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Hyundai is the latest brand to pause advertising on X due to antisemitism