What’s Wrong with Elon Musk?
Much of the world considers Elon Musk to be a genius. It’s hard to argue the impacts of his innovations upon the planet and society at large through his companies, Tesla and SpaceX. However, many of his actions and statements of late, have people questioning his leadership and his mental fortitude, especially in this time of national crisis.
Musk has a troublesome history of doing things he regrets, especially on the internet. Some might say it all started when he decided it was a good idea to smoke some weed on the Joe Rogan Experience in 2018. This decision created an avalanche of bad press for him and his companies, and even resulted in the government ordering SpaceX to undergo a rigorous audit of safety standards that cost taxpayers over 7 million dollars.
But things were already rocky for Musk well before this, since he had been forced to step down as the Chairman of Tesla in a settlement with the Securities and Exchanges Commission over accusations of securities fraud. This was because Musk had declared on Twitter that he wanted to take Tesla private with a share price of $420, coincidentally another reference to marijuana. And this doesn’t even factor into account his notorious arguments with people like Jeff Bezos and a British diver that he is on record referring to as a “child rapist.”
More recently, Musk has made headlines with his controversial comments concerning the response to the covid-19 pandemic. He has, again online, been critical of the media’s coverage of the crisis, going so far as to call the public’s fear of the virus “dumb.” On a conference call discussing Tesla’s earnings he was recorded to have said things about Americans wanting their freedom back, and calling the shelter-in-place orders “fascist.” With another controversial tweet, he did not back down from this rhetoric:
All of this comes on the heels of Musk announcing to the world the birth of his first child with his second wife. The duo made headlines when they confirmed that Grimes had given birth to the baby, and they had named the child a strange assortment of letters and numbers, X Æ A-12, instead of a traditional first and last moniker. One might wonder if this name was also inspired by someone smoking a bit of the elvish leaf, but Musk claims it was mostly Grimes’ idea.
Now, this week, Elon continues to create drama with his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, defying California’s Alameda County orders to keep car manufacturers closed. He famously has tweeted that he will be looking to move the Tesla factory out of California over the lockdown, and then dared the California authorities to come and arrest him since they would be reopening the Tesla factory regardless of approval. This was met with the support of people like Donald Trump and Steven Mnuchin. Officials backed down and agreed to let Tesla reopen, as long as they met their conditions for safety.
Given all of this controversy and drama, one has to wonder if Elon Musk is purposefully trying to sabotage his own companies. Such erratic behavior is anything but beneficial to the structural integrity of stock prices. Responses to Musk’s actions online have historically swayed the stock share value, as recently as this week when he tweeted the price was “too high” and caused it to fall by 12%. Other statements and stories about the wacky CEO have had even more drastic impacts on the valuation of his companies.
Are these the actions of a person operating with sound mind? Or should the shareholders ask Musk to consider handing control of his companies to someone who doesn’t come with so much controversial baggage, especially if the celebrity entrepreneur refuses to admit his own deficiencies. It may be something to think about.