While much of America enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day weekend of cookouts and beach trips, X (formerly known as Twitter) owner Elon Musk was doubling down on his absurd claims that the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish nonprofit, had somehow tanked the website he personally ran into the ground.

The accusations began last week, after ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt had a meeting with X CEO Linda Yaccarino to discuss the prevalence of hate speech on the platform. This kicked off a trending hashtag campaign, #BanTheADL, predicated on the groundless idea that the organization has stifled free speech on X (and should therefore have their account removed). But the tag, promoted by known antisemites and white supremacists, generated a slew of hateful content. When Musk proved receptive to the movement and chimed in to allege that “ADL has tried very hard to strangle X/Twitter,” he did so in reply to Keith Woods, an antisemitic YouTuber affiliated with notorious racists Richard Spencer and Nick Fuentes.

By Saturday, Musk was mulling a poll on whether to suspend the ADL and tweeting that it had been “hijacked by the woke mind virus.” He returned to the topic on Monday, once again interacting with Woods and escalating his rhetoric against the group, blaming them for the preponderance of antisemitism on X and insisting that they were out to destroy the website. “Since the acquisition, The @ADL has been trying to kill this platform by falsely accusing it & me of being anti-Semitic,” he complained.

From there, Musk began spinning out even more outrageous claims of sabotage, tweeting that a 60 percent plummet in U.S. advertising revenue for the site was “primarily due to pressure” from the ADL. (In fact, brands have tended to blame Musk himself for their departure.) Multiple times, he threatened a defamation suit against the organization, at one point calculating that they had cut his company’s value in half, making them liable for a loss of some $22 billion. This back-of-the-envelope math, dubious on its face, also seems to derive from the $44 billion price tag of Musk’s Twitter acquisition, and even he has said he was “obviously overpaying” at that price.

In addition to raising the specter of an ill-advised lawsuit (and welcoming Tucker Carlson to join it, since the ADL’s Greenblatt once called him an antisemite), Musk also hinted that he might reveal requests that the group has made for X to ban specific users. After indicating that Libs of TikTok, a hate account instrumental in fomenting a dangerous moral panic over the LGBTQ community, was among those the ADL had taken issue with, he teased “a giant data dump” to “clear the air.” He meanwhile endorsed a Change.org petition to “Stop the ADL’s Attempts to Silence People on X” — the exact action demanded is unclear — as “Cool,” and responded “Yeah” when its author tweeted that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” In case his position wasn’t clear from all this, Musk elsewhere accused the ADL of “secret censorship.”

Amid this posting spree, Musk liked a post supporting his cause from Mario Nawfal, an emergent X influencer with a history of shady business practices, and another from Richard Hanania, a right-wing columnist who spent years writing for white supremacist publications, as a recent HuffPost investigation revealed. “People imagine some nefarious or impulsive motives behind Elon Musk buying twitter,” Hanania wrote in his tweet, sharing a screenshot of a quote from Musk denouncing the “woke mind virus” as a civilizational threat. “The simpler truth is he saw a sick ideology taking hold in society and decided to do something about it. History will recognize this as a heroic act.”

In a statement shared with Rolling Stone, Greenblatt says of Musk’s provocations: “It is profoundly disturbing that Elon Musk spent the weekend engaging with a highly toxic, antisemitic campaign on his platform, a campaign started by an unrepentant bigot that then was heavily promoted by individuals such as white supremacist Nick Fuentes, Christian nationalist Andrew Torba, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and others.”

Torba, CEO of Gab, a social media network that caters to neo-Nazis, indeed celebrated Musk’s remarks as a victory for his extremist agenda. “In under five years we went from having every single one of our guys banned from the big tech platforms to the richest man in the world noticing, naming, and waging total war on our largest enemy while running one of those platforms,” he tweeted on Sunday night. By “largest enemy,” he meant Jewish people as a whole: When Musk said the ADL was responsible for antisemitic hate, Torba broadened the scope of that assertion, tweeting, “Jewish behavior is the number one cause of rising antisemitism.”

But the hate spurred by the hashtag movement isn’t confined to the internet. “Finally, we saw the campaign manifest in the real world when masked men marched in Florida on Saturday brazenly waving flags adorned with swastikas and chanting ‘Ban the ADL,’” Greenblatt says, referring to a neo-Nazi march that took place in Orlando on Saturday. “Musk is engaging with and elevating these antisemites at a time when ADL is tracking a surge of bomb threats and swatting attacks of synagogues and Jewish institutions, dramatic levels of antisemitic propaganda being littered throughout Jewish and non-Jewish residential communities, and extremists marching openly through the streets in Nazi gear.” He concludes that Musk’s behavior is therefore “not just alarming nor reckless” but “dangerous and deeply irresponsible.” 

Other Jewish commentators have noted that to lay the blame for one’s business failures on Jews — while arguing that they bring persecution on themselves — echoes age-old canards of antisemitism. Mike Rothschild, a researcher whose forthcoming book Jewish Space Lasers explores 200 years of antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family (to which he has no relation), was among those who ridiculed Musk’s scapegoating of the ADL to explain the dire finances of X. “I love the implication that the erratic management, mass layoffs, incoherent moderation, destruction of verification, decimated engineering staff, serial unbanning of racists, and crumbling infrastructure had nothing to do with twitter losing half its value,” he wrote in a viral tweet. “Nope, just Jews.”

It’s unlikely, however, that right-wing agitators would want to stop with the ADL, which is a convenient although narrow target. On Tuesday, Musk replied to conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, who had tweeted that the organization is a member of a “Stop Toxic Twitter” coalition calling for advertisers to withdraw from the site unless it stops undermining safety and community standards. Along with the ADL, the alliance includes dozens of other civil rights groups and watchdogs, such as the Center for Countering Digital Hate, GLAAD, the NAACP, Media Matters for America and Stop Online Violence Against Women.

Posobiec declared that by going after the ADL, Musk was in fact calling out all of these organizations for supposedly chilling free speech on a platform he controls. But this seemed to be news to Musk, who tweeted only a single word in response: “Interesting.”

Will Musk’s (so far imaginary) lawsuit against the ADL expand to include this entire list as he continues to frame his mismanagement of a social media company as a fight for freedom of speech? Well, the week is young, and when he starts to dig a hole, he generally likes to keep on digging. Soon he may be deep enough that no brand will want to help him out.