Among controversy’s favourite children, Elon Musk is a media magnet and for quite evident reasons.
From smoking pot on podcasts to landing in trouble because of his tweets, Elon Musk is never far from the limelight when it comes to firing up controversies. The South African innovator and disruptor has a fan-following similar to a cult. No matter what he does or says, the Musk brigande blindly follow his lead even when he is not making sense. In fact, Elon Musk is the most inspiring person in the Silicon Valley, far in front of the Zuckerbergs and Thiels.
Sometimes, Elon Musk gets away with his actions. Other times, he finds himself struggling with the repercussions of his outspoken personality. Most recently, his own tweets ended up in sparking the bear on Tesla stocks and his own personal net worth. Nevertheless, Musk continues to be his eccentric best. His future is bound to be controversies galore.
Till the next one, below are the biggest controversies that Elon Musk created and the world was caught off guard.
Controversial Acquisition of SolarCity
Founded by Musk’s cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive, SolarCity was acquired by Tesla under his executive leadership in 2014 for around $2 billion. Earlier, Elon Musk conceptualized and funded the project in its initial phase. However, at the time of the acquisition, the financial health of SolarCity was in shambles, a fact which Tesla shareholders were kept oblivious to. According to CNBC, Elon Musk was aware of the liquidity crisis that SolarCity was facing during the acquisition and still kept the Tesla shareholders in dark. Consequently, shareholders filed a $2.6 billion lawsuit against Tesla and Musk.
Watch: Musk’s SolarCity – Family Bail Out or the Future?
When Musk was Sued for False Market Claims
Elon Musk found himself in grave trouble when he tweeted about taking Tesla private in the year 2018. Tesla CEO made a false claim through the tweet that the company has secured funding to take Tesla private at a price of $420 per share. Consequently, SEC sued Elon Musk and Tesla each for $20 million. It stated that the foreign investors weren’t given any such information during the meeting earlier in July 2018.
Referring to the tweet as misleading and fraudulent for the investors, the SEC lawsuit demanded removal of Musk from the position of Tesla’s CEO. Tesla lates settled the lawsuit with a fine and Elon Musk was removed from the Chairman position of Tesla for three years.
When Musk Smoked Marijuana on a Podcast
One of the biggest controversies of all has to be when the SpaceX founder smoked pot on the podcast and landed in serious trouble. The reaction was a stern one straight from NASA and US Air Force. When Joe Rogan assured that marijuana is legal in California, the podcast live-streamed Elon Musk smoking pot in 2018.
Watch: Elon Musk smokes weed on live stream as fans calls out erratic behavior
As a reaction, NASA said that it would reinspect the workplace and Musk if the company that is making rockets for their missions, is deprived of narcotic practices or not. SpaceX also has multiple contracts with the Air Force due to which Elon Musk officially found himself under the radar of state authorities for the alleged usage of marijuana.
Thai Cave Rescue-linked Defamation Lawsuit
In 2018, a children’s soccer team was stuck in the flooded caves of Thailand. Elon Musk offered the help to rescue 12 children and coach by building a ‘kid size’ submarine that his team prepared in just a few hours specifically to rescue the children stuck in Thailand. The submarine was named ‘Wild Boar’ after the soccer team of the stranded children. However, before the submarine could be sent for help, children were rescued. Simple? What followed later was unnecessary to some extent. The recreational cave explorer and the chief of rescue operation, Vernon Unsworth, criticized the submarine on CNN and labeled the event as a publicity stunt by Musk.
Watch: Thai Cave Rescuer calls Elon Musk’s Submarine offer a PR Stunt
To quote Vernon, Musk “had no conception of what the cave passage was like” and “can stick his submarine where it hurts”. Elon Musk reverted to the words by a tweet calling Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ and ‘jackass’.
Watch: Elon Musk calls British Thai cave rescue diver ‘pedo’
Musk apologized later. However, Unsworth filed a defamation lawsuit against SpaceX entrepreneur in August 2018. The jury favored Musk in December 2018 and the case was settled.
When Musk made Absurd Coronavirus Claims
Among all of his controversies, what really caught fans and the world off guard were Elon Musk’s absurd remarks on the Covid-19 situation. During the beginning of the worldwide outbreak of coronavirus, Elon Musk called the panic and frenzy, ‘dumb’.
Elon Musk followed this with a highly inappropriate prediction that America will witness zero cases by April end.
Instead of spreading awareness with his influence, Musk whole-heartedly opposed social distancing and lockdown, calling it a breach of democracy. He equated lockdown as curbing the freedom of the people and forcefully locking them inside their homes.