Why is hedge fund manager Bill Ackman so supportive of Elon Musk?

Ackman, who holds a stake in X/Twitter, is uncharacteristically forgiving of the tech billionaire

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was in the news after he called on the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania to “resign in disgrace” following their testimony at a congressional hearing on anti-Semitism on campus.

Ackman routinely offers forthright opinions to his 949,000 followers on X/Twitter, but he was more forgiving recently regarding another person facing accusations of anti-Semitism – Elon Musk.

Major advertisers have deserted X since Musk described an anti-Semitic tweet as the “actual truth”. Musk didn’t help matters when he subsequently told advertisers to “go f*** themselves” at a New York Times event.

One of the few people to support the Tesla boss is Ackman, who says Musk is “entirely correct that he and X are treated unfairly and inconsistently by advertisers”.


Other platforms such as Facebook and TikTok “have enormous amounts of problematic content, anti-Semitic and otherwise, but the advertisers don’t boycott those platforms”, says Ackman.

True, but there’s a big difference between the presence of problematic content on a social platform, and a platform owner actively endorsing that same content. Musk has been wallowing in conspiratorial waters for years, his recent tweets on the Dublin riots being the latest example.

Why is Ackman, who has a stake in X, unable or unwilling to see what is obvious to most observers?

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O'Mahony

Proinsias O’Mahony, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes the weekly Stocktake column