The National Football League on Thursday responded to a recent report that pointed out its ads were placed on white nationalist feeds on Elon Musk’s social media platform, X.
“NFL unequivocally denounces any form of hate speech and has absolutely no association with these individuals or any group that promotes racism,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. “As soon as this was brought to our attention, we immediately expressed our concerns to X to understand and rectify the issue.”
The NFL did not indicate if they would pull ads from the platform, or if X would remove the ads from the white nationalist accounts. X’s press relations email responded with an automated response when CNBC asked for comment: “Busy now, please check back later.”
Left-leaning media watchdog site MediaMatters.org first reported on the ad placements on Wednesday. X shares a portion of ad revenue to owners of eligible accounts in which ads appear, if the owner opts in. Media Matters found five white nationalist accounts, with a total of 1 million followers, where NFL ads appeared.
Since Musk bought the social media company formerly known as Twitter last year, watchdog groups have criticized the company for failing to monitor and remove hate speech.
X has fought back, suing the Center for Countering Digital Hate during the summer, arguing the group illegally accessed company data to claim that harmful content overwhelmed the platform. Earlier this month, CCDH released a new report saying that X continuously fails to remove hate speech and other harmful content from the platform despite being notified the content violated the platform’s hateful conduct guidelines.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino reportedly struggled to answer key questions regarding company matters, including hate speech and antisemitism, at Vox Media’s 2023 Code Conference on Wednesday. When asked about complaints regarding antisemitism on the platform, Yaccarino responded, “Everybody deserves to speak their opinion,” according to a post on X.