Tesla CEO and general business magnate Elon Musk has been trending on Twitter for the past few months. But the truth is, he has a long history of controversial tweets stemming back to 2018. These tweets didn’t just get people talking, they also cost shareholders dearly and resulted in massive personal fines.
But what has the billionaire actually been saying? We’re laying it all out for you, from his early problematic posts to his most recent ones in the wake of his “Twitter take-over.” From what we can see, his highly-disputed opinions and judgments have only gotten worse with time. And considering how dicey his 2022 tweets have been so far, the future’s looking bleak.
July 2018 – Elon Calls the Thailand Cave Diver Who Rescued a Youth Soccer Team a “Pedo Guy” and Hires a Private Investigator to Try and Prove It
In July 2018, Elon caused a huge Twitter storm when he very publicly called out British diver and celebrated hero, Vernon Unsworth. Elon wrote, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” after discovering that Vernon didn’t agree with Elon’s idea to send a submarine to save a group of trapped footballers. His assertion that Vernon was “pedo guy” was unfounded, and he later backtracked on his words and apologized.
But not before Elon tried to dig up some dirt on the 63-year-old. He paid a private investigator around $50,000 to find a story about the part-time diver, to help his case when being sued in court. Ultimately, Elon couldn’t find anything to back the credibility of his tweet. “Pedo guy was a common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up. It is synonymous with ‘creepy old man’ and is used to insult a person’s appearance and demeanor…” Elon stated in a court filing.
August 2018 – Elon Used Twitter To Cause a Huge Market Disruption When He Lied About Securing Financial Funding From Partners
August 2018 wasn’t much better, as Elon’s tweeted to 22 million of his Twitter followers, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” It suggested that only the shareholder vote was the only remaining uncertainty, and resulted in a massive Tesla stock price jump to over six percent. It caused a big market disruption, and on top of it all, it simply wasn’t true.
In reality, Elon had not discussed deal terms with the potential partners and had not secured funding. He was charged a whopping $40 Million by the Securities and Exchange Commission with securities fraud for “false and misleading tweets,” with the Commission’s co-director writing “Taking care to provide truthful and accurate information is among a CEO’s most critical obligations.”
October 2018 – Elon Infuriates Gamers by Pretending To Buy Fortnite and Calling Their Fanbase “Eternal Virgins”
Elon sent Twitter into meltdown in October 2018 when he tweeted a photoshopped image that appeared to be a screenshot of a news headline. It read, “Elon Musk buys Fortnite and deletes it” and was accompanied by a caption from the billionaire which simply stated, “Had to be done ur welcome.” Elon had taken a jab at fans of Fortnite, the much-loved battle game. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there.
The photoshopped image also read, “I had to save these kids from eternal virginity,” which certainly offended Fortnite’s huge fanbase. But it also garnered a lot of likes – over a million – and drew in comments from the game’s developers, Epic Games. They tweeted in response, “A whole decade, @elonmusk? Just build, LOL,” referencing the 10 years that Elon stated it would take to build a base on Mars.
December 2019 – Elon Musk Uses His Influence To Change Details on His Wikipedia Page, Despite the Fact That They Were True To Begin With
In December 2019, Elon let on to the fact that he’s not opposed to looking himself up online. He tweeted, “Just looked at my wiki for 1st time in years. It’s insane! Btw, can someone please delete ‘investor’. I do basically zero investing.” He followed that up by saying “If Tesla & SpaceX go bankrupt, so will I. As it should be,” suggesting that his Wiki page should talk about his Tesla and SpaceX leadership instead.
But this caused quite a stir online. Wikipedia’s editors immediately started changing the face of Elon’s Wiki page, initially deleting the word “investor” every time it appeared before adding it back in. This led to heated discussions online about whether or not Elon was using his influence to rewrite his history and change the facts – going against Wikipedia’s entire ethos.
March 2020 – Elon Tells His Followers That “The Coronavirus Panic Is Dumb” Just Before It Turned Into a Global Pandemic
It probably won’t surprise you to know that Elon’s tweets only got more controversial in 2020. In March the world was on tenterhooks waiting to hear back about the severity of the newly-discovered virus. But Elon had his own quickly-formed opinions on the approaching pandemic, summed up in the tweet that read: “The coronavirus panic is dumb.”
It was ill-informed, sure. But more than that, Elon was branded as irresponsible for tweeting such a damaging throw-away opinion to his millions of followers, many of who look up to him. His mocking tone put down those who were taking the approaching pandemic seriously, and sadly, it wouldn’t be the end to his covid-19 denying tweets.
April 2020 – Elon Tells Twitter “FREE AMERICA NOW” in Response to the Lockdown Measures Taking Place in the States
If you thought calling the coronavirus “dumb” was ill-judged, you won’t like what happened in the following month. At the end of April 2020, Elon tweeted three highly-charged words, “FREE AMERICA NOW,” in response to the growing restrictions happening in the states, aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
He didn’t stop there, tweeting on the same night “Give people their freedom back.” His response to the lockdown was highly criticized both then and especially in hindsight, considering the 385,000 Covid-19-related deaths recorded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in just 2020.
May 2020 – Elon Manages To Wipe $14 Billion Off of Tesla’s Company Value After Tweeting That Its Stock Price Is Too High
Elon really put his foot in it when he tweeted in May 2020, “Tesla stock price is too high.” You’d think he would have learned his lesson in 2018 after being fined $40 Million for securities fraud, but apparently not. Because of his tweet about Tesla stock, the car manufacturer lost $14 billion in the blink of an eye.
Essentially, Tesla’s company value just plummeted, leaving Elon with a $3 billion loss in his personal stock. It goes to show that while Elon might not be taking his Twitter too seriously, a lot of very important investors are, as they bailed the electric vehicle company following his short and sweet six-worded tweet.
May 2020 – Elon Declares That He Will Sell All of His Earthly Possessions Before Asserting That His Girlfriend Grimes Was Mad
May 2020 also saw Elon get into some hot water with his then-partner Grimes, the Canadian singer-songwriter and fellow deep space enthusiast. He sent out a confusing tweet that read, “I am selling all physical possessions. Will own no house,” before following it up with another tweet: “My gf Grimes is mad at me.”
It shouldn’t have been a surprise to him if Grimes was mad, as she was due to give birth to their first child together (at the time, Elon already had six other children from previous relationships, but that number has now grown to eight) only three days from the tweet. Needless to say, he didn’t follow through with his tweet by selling all of his possessions.
May 2020 – Elon Introduces His Newborn Son, X Æ A-12, to the World and No One Knows How To Pronounce His Name
On May 5th, Elon and Grimes’ son came into the world and the business magnate took to Twitter to introduce him to all of his followers. But their unusual choice of name caused a lot of controversy, with many people asking to hear how such a name was even supposed to be pronounced.
“We need the name we literally need it,” someone wrote to the billionaire, and to their surprise, he tweeted back, “X Æ A-12 Musk.” Shortly after, he and Grimes were forced to change their son’s name to X Æ A-Xii, in order to comply with California’s naming laws. The boy’s first name is “X,” his middle name “AE A-Xii,” and his surname “Musk.”
July 2020 – Elon Tweets Kanye West That “You Have My Full Support” in the Rapper’s 2020 Bid for Presidency
2020 saw Kanye West declare that he was going to be running for President, which garnered a lot of responses from people all over the internet. But Elon saw fit to give his two cents when it came to the rapper’s 2020 presidential run, tweeting him “You have my full support.” It’s pretty hard to misinterpret that.
It was only afterward that Elon did some research into what Kanye proposed plans would be, and found that he and the rapper actually did not align politically. Kanye’s anti-abortion stance was a bad look for the business magnate, and he back-tracked his support upon realizing Kanye’s claim that “Planned Parenthoods have been placed inside cities by white supremacists to do the Devil’s work.”
July 2020 – Elon Tells Twitter That He and Bill Gates Are “Lovers” in the Wake of Their Growing Tension
It seems as though Elon wasn’t satisfied with the public uproar he caused over the previous two months, and saw fit to stir up something new on Twitter in July 2020. He jokingly tweeted out to his 90 million followers, “The rumor that Bill Gates and I are lovers is completely true.” The truth is, the funny tweet about the Microsoft billionaire wasn’t actually random.
At the time, Bill Gates was positioning himself as someone trying to fight the emergence of Covid-19, while Elon was still in denial over it. Bill Gates had previously stated, “Elon’s positioning is to maintain a high level of outrageous comments… I hope that he doesn’t confuse areas he’s not involved in too much.” What we witnessed in Elon’s tweet, was Elon’s response to their growing animosity.
July 2020 – Elon Angers a Lot of People by Tweeting “Pronouns Suck,” While Grimes Attempts to Smooth Things Out
That same month, Elon angered a ton of people online, including his girlfriend and mother of his child, Grimes. He tweeted the words “Pronouns suck,” sparking a heated debate in the comments about inclusivity and political correctness. It wasn’t a long or explanatory tweet, but it was enough to know that in some ways, Elon is resistant to change.
This time, Grimes stepped in to try and clean up the mess that Elon had created. Grimes tweeted Elon in response to his comment: “I love you but please turn off your phone or give me a [call]. I cannot support hate. Please stop this. I know this isn’t your heart.” Elon didn’t reply back.
November 2020 – Elon Spreads Misinformation About the Pandemic to a Huge Amount of People, Before Contracting COVID-19 Shortly After
By November 2020, Elon was taking to Twitter to claim that something “extremely bogus” was happening with regard to the coronavirus pandemic, but he would soon be proved wrong. He wrote to his millions of followers, “Something extremely bogus is going on. Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive.”
The tweet continued: “Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD.” But later that same month he would end up contracting Covid-19 himself and confirmed it during an award show. He was heavily criticized for spreading misinformation to a large group of people about something he didn’t exactly understand.
May 2021 – Elon Violates Public Health Orders by Reopening the Tesla Factory and It Results in Hundreds of Employees Contracting COVID
Unfortunately, Elon hadn’t learned his lesson. He continued to misinform others about the global pandemic and even violated public health orders in May 2021 when he reopened a Tesla factory in California. He decided to defy to Alameda County Public Health Department’s regulations that aimed to protect the workers.
Elon went on a Twitter rant about the local health officials who wanted the Tesla factory to remain closed, writing, “Frankly, this is the final straw… Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will depend on how Tesla is treated in the future.” Subsequently, 450 cases of covid were reported at the factory by a transparency website, after the reopening.
October 2021 – Elon Tweets Sexist and Misogynistic Jokes That Belittle Women in Tech and Academia
Elon succeeded in alienating half of the population when he tweeted sexist and misogynistic jokes in October 2021. He wrote: “Am thinking of starting new university: Texas Institute of Technology & Science,” which abbreviates to what many consider to be a derogatory word for women’s breasts. Elon’s untasteful joke was followed up by the tweets “It will have epic merch,” and “Universally admired,” suggesting that all women have to offer in academia is their looks.
It certainly didn’t bode well for the billionaire whose tech company lacks gender diversity. The U.S. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report stated that 83% of Tesla’s employees in leadership roles were men, and following Elon’s insensitive jokes, we’re not surprised. In another instance, Elon tweeted out “Equal support for left & right!” and “D’s get degrees.” Pictured above, Elon is seen with his second wife Talulah Riley.
October 2021 – Elon Musk Speaks Out Against Government Subsidies Despite Receiving Several Billion Dollars in Government Contracts, Tax Breaks, Loans, and Other Subsidies
People found it far too ironic that Elon was speaking out against government subsidies on Twitter in October 2021. He wrote, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.” At the time, he was responding to comments talking about the “billionaires’ tax” proposed by Senator Ron Wyden.
He soon after gave an interview with TIME magazine in which he spoke out against tax incentives for business and government subsidies, calling the government general poor “steward[s] of capital.” But people online were quick to highlight the hypocrisy, considering how his companies have been receiving several billions of dollars in tax breaks, loans, and subsidies for years. We’re talking over $7 billion dollars and counting.
November 2021 – Elon Admits to Writing Half of His Tweets While Sat on the Toilet, Claiming That “It Gives Me Solace”
In November 2021, Elon arguably revealed too much about his tweeting habits when he admitted to writing a majority of his Twitter comments while on the toilet. Some of his followers found the humor in it, while others found themselves disgusted. Many people wished that he had just spared them the visual image.
Elon tweeted: “At least 50% of my tweets were made on a porcelain throne…It gives me solace.” Over a quarter of a million people on Twitter appeared to agree with him by liking his tweet, but Neil deGrasse Tyson had some words of warning: “That comes to more than 8,000 tweets over 12.5 years. If you do the math, it means you poop twice a day. Did you really want to tell people that?”
December 2021 – Elon Tells the World That He Considering Quitting His Lucrative Jobs and Becoming an Online Influencer Full-Time
In the following month, Elon told his legion of followers that he was thinking about throwing in the towel and changing career paths entirely. But it wasn’t 100% clear to some people as to whether or not he was being serious, or just poking fun at the relatively new job type.
Elon wrote on Twitter that he was “thinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time wdyt [what do you think].” He didn’t explain his comment any further, choosing instead to let the idea sit with followers. Whatever it was that he was trying to say in this tweet, his mirror selfies certainly leave a lot to be desired.
February 2022 – Elon Went to the Trouble of Creating His Own Meme To Compare Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler
In February 2022, Elon riled up Twitter followers once more by comparing the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Nazi Germany dictator Adolf Hitler. In a now-deleted tweet, Elon shared a meme image of the dictator with the text “Stop comparing me to Justin Trudeau. I had a budget.”
It certainly caused a controversy, as Elon was slammed by Twitter users and organizations alike for his insensitive comment. He removed the tweet from his timeline, but the damage was already done. The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum tweeted in response that Elon “disrespects the memory of all victims & hurts many people.” Elon never responded.
March 2022 – Elon Challenges His Tesla Employees To Unionize, Telling Twitter That He Has Nothing To Worry About
In March 2022, Elon dared his Tesla employees to start a union, claiming that he wouldn’t be worried if they were to start one as his company treats its employees so well. He wrote on Twitter: “Our real challenge is Bay Area has negative unemployment, so if we don’t treat and compensate our (awesome) people well, they have many other offers and will just leave!”
His tweet continued: “I’d like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them.” Previously, he’s been found guilty of attempting to sabotage union efforts using several illegal tactics. Back in September 2019 for example, Elon tweeted that Tesla workers who wanted to unionize would have to give up their company stock options. A Californian judge later ruled that he had violated labor laws.
April 2022 – Elon Hides a Reference to Weed in One of His Tweets, Suggesting That His “Twitter Takeover” Is All Just Fun and Games
Musk continued tweeting problematically the following month, this time with a weed joke, proving that Twitter is all one big joke to him. He simply wrote, “69.420% of statistics are false,” referencing April 20th (4/20), a date held in celebration by smokers and weed enthusiasts.
It’s not the first time he’s snuck in references to 4/20 in his tweets. And it’s not the first time he’s suggested that he’s an avid smoker himself. Back in September 2018, Elon appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast where he lit a joint on camera and proceeded to get less and less sober throughout.
April 2022 – Elon Continues Joking About Drugs, Telling Twitter That His Next Plan Is To Buy Coca-Cola “To Put the Cocaine Back In”
It wasn’t long after Elon’s acquisition of Twitter on April 14th, 2022 that he took to the social messaging platform to tell of his future business plans. He told his followers, “Next I’m buying Coca-Cola to put the cocaine back in,” garnering almost five million likes. While just a joke (we hope) Elon proved he knows how to get a reaction out of people.
In his tweet, Elon was referencing the drink company’s original recipe, which is known to have contained extracts of the coca leaf – AKA the plant that is used to make the Schedule II narcotic. Pictured above, Elon enjoys a meal al fresco with his new girlfriend, Australian actress Natasha Bassett.
April 2022 – Elon Riles Up Twitter Users by Declaring That Netflix Has Been Taken Over by the “The Woke Mind Virus” and Become Unwatchable
Elon appeared to drive an even greater wedge between himself and a large portion of the population by distancing himself from left-leaning views. He tweeted out to almost 100 million followers, “The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable,” essentially declaring himself enti-woke culture.
Eight days later, he tweeted a diagram that showed how his views have gotten steadily more right-wing in recent years. It showed how he aligned himself with the center-left back in 2008, moving more towards the center in 2012, and finally center-right in 2021. He then followed that up with another tweet that said, “I strongly supported Obama for President, but today’s Democratic Party has been hijacked by extremists.”
April 2022 – Elon Compares Bill Gates to the Pregnant Man Emoji Amid Ongoing Row With the Microsoft Founder
Elon already sent Twitter into meltdown back in 2020 when he told the social messaging platform that he and Bill Gates were lovers. But in April 2022, he proved unable to let bygones be bygones when he tweeted a side-by-side comparison of Bill Gates and the Pregnant Man emoji.
Elon captioned the photo, “in case u need to lose a boner fast,” and unsurprisingly Twitter had a lot to say. His derogatory joke came after the Microsoft tycoon claimed that he gives “a lot more to climate change than Elon or anyone else” in a Youtube interview. In the month prior, Elon had rejected working with Gates on a philanthropic cause, and Gates had purchased $500 million in shorting stock against Tesla.