Elon Musk is seen as a visionary, a modern-day Tony Stark, the SolarMan, that electric car guy, the dude with the funny twitter account, and the list goes on.
Musk is the type of person that wears many hats and has a lot of media clout around his persona. That’s not surprising, seeing that he wants to put people on Mars, he’s leading Tesla and, in the past, has made genius platforms like PayPal, for example.
To list Elon Musk’s achievements would take the full length of an article, but sometimes even a giant can do a proverbial faceplant and botch-up a statement or screw the bolt a bit too tight. He’s only human at the end of the day.
That being said, in recent years, Elon’s Twitter account has been the discourse and focus of many individuals, from trade specialists to everyday people. Some of his statements even cost investors money, facts that are following him even today in the media, and online. Some declarations made Musk lose face or even investors. Here are a couple of these controversial statements that the general public wants to forget, or forgive, in some cases.
But, before we proceed, let’s not forget what Elon himself said on Twitter:
That time Jarrett Walker commented on his character and Musk lost it
In 2017, Jarrett Walker was a Public Transit Planning and Policy Consultant, and he took great offense to the statements that Musk made during a tech conference about public transit and transportation. He stated that Elon has “luxury (or pathology) only rich people could afford”, a fact that prompted Musk to jump the shark and resort to not-so-fine language.
Jarrett Walker said: “To summarize Elon Musk’s views on transit: It’s terrible. You might be killed. Japanese trains are awful. Individualized transport for everyone! Congestion? Induced demand? Climate change impacts? Unwalkable streets? Who cares!”, a fact that made Elon respond with a simple: You’re an idiot. An insult that made the media rage at the time and made Musk lose part of his public support, eventually turning into a PR nightmare.
When he called a British diver a pedophile on Twitter
Insulting someone when they don’t agree with him is a regular occurrence on Elon’s Twitter, but sometimes he takes it too far, as in the case of Vernon Unsworth.
Sure, the tweet is now long gone, deleted from the internet, but the British diver took great offense to the moniker, especially after he saved a group of Thai children stranded in an underwater cave.
In a now-deleted tweet from 2018, Musk called British diver Vernon Unsworth, who was working on the Thai cave rescue operation to save a group of stranded boys, a pedophile.
Unsworth, who lived in Thailand at the time, and spent some time exploring and cataloging the Tham Luang cave, where the 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped, was one of the most important figures in the rescue, and called the submarine that Musk created in his pool “kid-size“.
But what irked the Tesla CEO? Unsworth had previously claimed that the miniature submarine Musk had designed and sent to Thailand to help rescue the boys was merely a publicity stunt, as the submarine was ineffective, and even affirmed that the sub will never make it as far as 50 meters into the cave system. Musk later apologized to Unsworth and even deleted the tweet, but the damage was done.
The Free America Now Tweet
Understandably, some US citizens are not pleased with the current state of the country, as the coronavirus pandemic is closing down many businesses, and people are losing jobs. On the other hand, social distancing is necessary for the pandemic to pass, and social life to resume a normal course.
We don’t know if this was one of his 420 answers or whether he believes in the statement, possibly done in the spur of the moment, but the right-wing militants’ reaction was immediate, thus validating some beliefs.
It’s easy to comment on the nature of the tweet, but it’s important to remember the fact that tensions are high in the US, and every remark like this can aggravate the situation. However, as a captain of the tech industry, he has to remember the influence he has over people that follow and look up to him.
The 420 Tweet that cost him only 20 million dollars
Musk took a loss of about 20 million after his $420 per stock remark on Twitter. To be honest, it seems like Tesla stock is sort of run on Twitter these days, and in Elon’s case, some remarks made him lose a huge lump of the share price. Funny fact is, he doesn’t seem to care about it. But some people took to Twitter to voice the fact that, after the statement that he wants to take Tesla private, they lost a good chunk of cash, as the tweet had a direct impact on the market, on his position, and the stock price. This is one of the most expensive and impactful jokes about weed in history. The tweet led to a lawsuit from the SEC which ended in a settlement that ordered Musk to pay a $20 million fine.
The most expensive tweet in history
After he joked on Twitter that the Tesla stock was too high in his opinion, investors bailed out of the electric company which cost Musk 3 billion dollars!
The May 1, 2020 controversy was the target of many media outlets and prompted a few changes in the internal workings of Tesla. That being said, as of the writing of this article, the stock is on the rise, but the current weirdness of the tweets continues.
Let’s not forget that last month a federal judge said Tesla and Musk must face a lawsuit prompted by shareholders about the going-private tweet and the claim that Musk intended to defraud them.
Tesla and Musk go hand in hand, so a public declaration from Elon can spell disaster for the company. On the other hand, Tesla is only one of his enterprises, besides Solar City, SpaceX, or DeepMind. His interests walk the fine line between SF and reality sometimes, but that makes him a visionary with more achievements under his belt than many other captains of the industry at the moment. And that is why people are following him and invest in him. Let’s just say that his well is not gonna dry out any time soon.