Elon Musk is one of the richest men on earth. Before him, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Jeff Bezos were the wealthiest men, respectively. However, Elon is the most controversial billionaire.
Up until 2018, Elon was the most loved billionaire on earth. However, during the 2018 Thai cave incident, public perception changed. Moreover, over the years, his political view has also noticeably shifted.
This article points out a few incidents that changed public opinion regarding Elon Musk and why people now started disliking him.
Pedo Guy Accusation
In 2018, a few teens of a soccer team got trapped in a Thai cave. Due to massive media coverage, national and international cave divers came together to rescue them. Vern Unsworth was the cave divers’ team leader.
During that time, Elon Musk announced that his company SpaceX was designing a human-sized submarine to rescue those teens. He flew to Thailand and tried to help. However, the rescue team said that the submarine was unusable because the cave had too many twists and turns.
After the rescue operation, Vern Unsworth sat down for an interview with the media. In that interview, when asked about Elon Musk’s submarine, Unsworth got annoyed and said that Elon did all those things to get media attention and he could keep his submarine where it hurts. This comment made Elon angry.
Later, Elon Musk called Vern Unsworth a “pedo guy” in a tweet and asked Unsworth to sue him if he isn’t.
Due to the successful rescue operation, Unsworth was considered a hero worldwide. However, the attack on Unsworth made many people angry. During this time, many started to resent Elon Musk.
Red Pill Tweet
Even in 2016, Elon Musk was a democrat donor. However, over the years, his political view has changed. During the 2020 election, Elon cryptically tweeted to everyone to take the red pill. Even though this metaphor from the Matrix means people should separate truth from fiction, Elon indirectly said to everyone to support republicans.
As a result, democrats started to dislike him.
Elon Musk repeatedly criticizes the American people, government, and politics. A few years ago, he famously moved to Texas from California. Elon’s criticism of Democrats and many social issues is no secret.
However, Elon’s praise for the Chinese government knows no bounds. Due to the Tesla Chinese factory, he doesn’t mince a word. During the 2020 pandemic, he famously defied county officials in California and opened the Tesla factory. However, in 2022 when the Chinese government locked down the entire Tesla factory, he didn’t say a word.
Everyone notices how careful he is on China issues and blatantly vocal on American matters. Those who carefully observe China don’t like these aspects of Elon Musk, and over the years, it created a bad feeling towards him.
In 2021, the Biden administration held an EV summit. Ford, GM, and other auto manufacturers got invited, but they didn’t invite Elon Musk and Tesla.
There’s no doubt Elon Musk’s Tesla started the EV revolution and made EVs popular again. This move by the administration made Elon angry and tweeted “sleepy joe,” a slur coined by Donald Trump. This type of rhetoric made many people mad against him.
There’s no doubt Elon Musk is over-optimistic. He sets super optimistic goals for his companies and teams. Sometimes he succeeds, and sometimes he fails.
Since 2016 Elon Musk repeatedly promised Full Self Driving (FSD) cars by the end of the year. Upon this promise, Tesla sold FSD software packages. However, until today Tesla failed to deliver on this promise. Hundreds of thousands of Tesla owners spent $10,000 for this FSD but could not enjoy this software.
Tesla Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi were delayed for 6 years. The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 never got delivered, and the $25,000 Tesla was never announced.
These missed promises made many customers and potential buyers disappointed.
In this socio-economic culture, billionaires are hated in general. When the poor people became poorer in recent years, the rich got even richer.
The recent political movement for “Tax the Rich” is particularly popular. When people are suffering due to high gas prices, high commodity prices, and inflation, it makes many angry to see that rich people are getting more wealthy.
In recent years, Elon Musk became the world’s richest man while everyone suffered during the pandemic. It created a general disdain for rich people, especially for Elon Musk.
Elon Musk is famous for misdirection. In 2021, Elon polled on Twitter regarding whether he should sell Tesla stock to pay taxes. Later, he sold Tesla stock and paid approximately $11 billion in taxes. The entire tax-paying thing, in reality, was misdirection.
In September 2021, Elon was about to get a considerable performance benefit from Tesla. He had to pay billions of taxes. But instead of paying taxes quietly, he made a huge media spectacle regarding the tax payment. Even though many think that he paid taxes to squash his criticism, in reality, he paid taxes because he had to.
In April 2022, Elon polled whether he should buy Twitter to end censorship. After the announcement, he disclosed that he took a 9% stake in Twitter. However, the filing showed that he started buying Twitter stocks in January 2022.
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that anyone buying a stake in any company of more than 5% must disclose it within 5 days. However, Elon waited for more than 90 days to disclose it. This delay saved him hundreds of millions of dollars because he bought the Twitter stocks at a lower price.
However, this isn’t the first time he has broken government rules. In 2018, Elon falsely said that he had secured financials at $420 per share to take Tesla private. For this, he had to pay $20 million in fines.
No PR Team
Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company are all Elon Musk’s companies, and none of them have any PR team. Elon has more than 90 million followers on Twitter, and he works as the de facto PR personnel for all of these companies. Therefore, he gets complaints, anger, and blame for any problem with his company’s products.
Comments Regarding Competitor
Elon Musk is known for controversial statements. These comments made many adversaries throughout the industry.
Waymo, MobilEye, BlueCruise, CommaAi, and many other companies are trying to solve full self-driving (FSD) software. Everyone except for CommaAi and Tesla uses LiDAR, RADAR, cameras, HD Maps, and other sensors. Tesla is only using cameras to solve FSD. Elon openly said that any company that uses LiDAR would fail to solve autonomy.
Elon Musk created SpaceX, whereas Jeff Bezos made BlueOrigin. Even though BlueOrigin was formed before SpaceX, their rocket still hasn’t reached orbit yet. They are far behind in engine and rocket development compared to SpaceX. Elon often jokingly criticized Jeff Bezos by saying, “can’t get it up.” He also frequently jokes about the shape of BlueOrigins New Shepard rocket.
There was a time when Elon Musk was a hero. However, over the years, public perception has severely changed. Some fans will support and protect him in all scenarios, but in general, nowadays, Elon Musk is a hated character.