Linda Yaccarino, the Chief Executive Officer of X (formerly Twitter), is being urged by a number of advertising executives to resign from her role in the wake of an advertiser exodus and scrutiny over owner Elon Musk’s antisemitic remarks on the platform. According to CNN, over the weekend, a “groundswell” of advertising executives urged Ms Yaccarino to step down as the CEO of X in order to save her reputation before it was “damaged”.
“I sent her a text yesterday after thinking about it long and hard saying that,” said Lou Paskalis, chief executive of marketing consultancy AJL Advisory and a former top media executive at Bank of America. Mr Paskalis stated that other members of the industry had done the same. “My advice was to leave before her reputation was damaged,” he added, as per CNN.
However, Ms Yaccarino has refused to leave her position, the Financial Times reported. She believes in X’s goals and the people working there, two people familiar with the matter told the outlet. Separately, Ms Yaccarino, who joined the social media platform earlier this year, also took to X to indicate that for now, she is not going anywhere.
“I believe deeply in our vision, our team, and our community,” the X CEO posted on Monday. “I’m also deeply committed to the truth and there is no other team on earth working as hard as the teams at X,” she added.
What we’re doing at X matters and has everyone’s attention. I believe deeply in our vision, our team, and our community. I’m also deeply committed to the truth and there is no other team on earth working as hard as the teams at X. When you’re this consequential, there will be…
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) November 20, 2023
Notably, this comes after X owner Elon Musk came under fire for publicly endorsing an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the micro-blogging site. It also comes after two reports from the non-profit group Media Matters for America found advertisements for top brands next to pro-Nazi content. This prompted brands including IBM, Apple, Walt Disney, Comcast and Warner Bros to suspend their advertising on the platform. According to the Financial Times, they and other companies are also attempting to distance themselves from Mr Musk following his comments.
However, in a letter to employees sent on Sunday, which was viewed by CNN, Ms Yaccarino reaffirmed her commitment to the company’s work. “Our work is critical, but it’s not always easy. What we’re doing matters, which means it naturally invites criticism from those who do not share our beliefs,” she said, adding that X has taken steps to “combat antisemitism and discrimination”.
Over the weekend, the platform accused Media Matters of aggressively searching for such content in a way that “misrepresented the real user experience” and could “mislead advertisers”. However, X did not remove the pro-Nazi accounts mentioned in the Media Matters’ report, saying that their posts had little engagement and that they would no longer be eligible for monetization. “No critic will ever deter us from our mission to protect free speech,” Ms Yaccarino said in the letter.
On Monday, X even sued Media Matters, alleging the organization defamed the platform after it published a report that said ads for major brands had appeared next to posts touting Nazism.