Did Twitter CEO Elon Musk decline a $120 million Bud Light Twitter marketing campaign, saying "my principles come first"? No, that's not true: This story originated from a self-described satirical website aimed at trolling conservatives. No corporate statement or credible independent reporting supports the claim.
The claim appeared in an article published by The Dunning-Kruger Times on May 11, 2023, titled "Elon Declines $120 Million Bud Light Twitter Marketing Campaign: 'My Principles Come First'" (archived here). It opened:
Bud Light tried to slip a $120 million marketing campaign onto Twitter, knowing full-well that Elon Musk is not a fan. They must have convinced themselves that he only cares about dollars.
'I turned it down without even thinking about it,' said Musk, 'I have my principles and they come first.'
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
Elon Declines $120 Million Bud Light Twitter Marketing Campaign: "My Principles Come First"
Bud Light is trying desperately to rebrand.
(Source: The Dunning-Kruger Times screenshot taken on Thu May 11 14:14:26 2023 UTC)
The article was posted on the Dunning-Kruger Times website, which features a disclaimer on its "About Us" page stating, "Everything on this website is fiction." This website is part of the satirical network America's Last Line of Defense, which is the work of Christopher Blair, a notorious liberal prankster who produces fake claims to troll conservatives.
A Google News search using the keywords "Elon Declines $120 Million Bud Light Twitter Marketing Campaign: "My Principles Come First," produced no credible independent reports supporting the claim. If Musk had been offered a considerable amount of money for a marketing campaign on Twitter's platform, it would have been deemed a significant news event with widespread coverage.
A Twitter platform search and an Anheuser-Busch website search also did not produce any results or press releases that corroborate the claim made in this article.
The Dunning-Kruger Times
The Dunning-Kruger Times is a satirical website with an about page (archived here) that has the following disclaimer:
Dunning-Kruger-Times.com is a subsidiary of the 'America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery, or as Snopes called it before they lost their war on satire: Junk News
Before you complain and decide satire is synonymous with 'comedy':
sat·ire ˈsaˌtī(ə)r noun: The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical. See above if you're still having an issue with that satire thing.
The website is named after the Dunning-Kruger effect, a term from the field of psychology that describes the phenomenon of being ignorant of one's own ignorance.
The site comes with a clear satire disclaimer at the bottom of each article:
the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, OR ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.
If you disagree with the definition of satire or have decided it is synonymous with 'comedy,' you should really just move along.
The owner and main writer of the site is self-professed liberal troll Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has made it his full-time job to troll gullible conservatives and Trump supporters into liking and sharing his articles. He runs several other websites, including wearethellod.com, bustatroll.org or bebest.website. Sometimes he is also known under his nickname "Busta Troll." A second man working on the sites is John Prager, as revealed in this 2018 story we wrote.
Articles from Blair's sites frequently get copied by "real" fake news sites that often omit the satire disclaimer and any other hints the stories are fake. Blair has tried to get these sites shut down but new ones keep cropping up.
Blair and his operation were profiled by the Washington Post on November 17, 2018:
'Nothing on this page is real': How lies become truth in online America
November 17 The only light in the house came from the glow of three computer monitors, and Christopher Blair, 46, sat down at a keyboard and started to type. His wife had left for work and his children were on their way to school, but waiting online was his other community, an unreality where nothing was exactly as it seemed.
If you are interested in learning more about Blair and the history of his sites, here is something to get you started:
The Ultimate Christopher Blair and America's Last Line of Defense Reading List | Lead Stories
STORY UPDATED: check for updates below. Yesterday Eli Saslow at the Washington Post wrote a fantastic article about Christopher Blair, a man from Maine who has been trolling conservatives and Trump supporters online for years and occasionally even made a living out of it.
If you see one of his stories on a site that does not contain a satire disclaimer, assume it is fake news. If you do see the satire disclaimer it is of course also fake news.