From Howard Hughes to Mark Zuckerberg, controversial entrepreneurs are nothing novel, but perhaps none have attracted as much attention as Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of SpaceX, a private aerospace manufacturer, Tesla, an electric vehicle company and the Boring Company, which is currently creating a high speed transportation system beneath the streets of Los Angeles.
In the latest of a recent and lengthy string of scandals, Musk smoked marijuana with comedian Joe Rogan on Rogan’s popular podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience. Last week, shortly after Musk’s episode involving marijuana, the price of a share of Tesla plummeted over nine points, but has since rebounded and regained its previous value. The clip of Elon’s entirely legal “hit” is quickly becoming a sensational meme, but to many, his recent actions confirm their concerns regarding the entrepreneur’s ability to lead his companies in highly competitive industries.
Musk’s misadventure with Rogan is only the surface of a tale which includes many peculiar and outlandish incidents, including the billionaire’s many online battles. Via Instagram rapper Azealia Banks claimed she spent days alone at Elon Musk’s house for his girlfriend, Canadian musician Grimes, to continue work on their collaborative project, asserting that the holdup had been caused by Musk using LSD. Musk insisted he had never met Banks in an interview with Gizmodo, a statement which he later recanted.
The saga spiraled out of control as Banks alleged that her phone had been tapped by Musk and that she was being blackmailed by Tesla lawyers, calling Musk a “trash beta male pig,” and Grimes an “inbred meth-head junkie.” These events occurred less than a month after Elon slandered an English diver who assisted those stranded in a cave in Thailand, calling him a “pedo” in a baseless controversial Twitter statement. Musk now faces lawsuits and an SEC investigation for claiming via social media he had secured funding for the privatization of Tesla.
Unfortunately, these bizarre and sensationalized episodes have overshadowed the many positive aspects of Elon’s career, and also tainted his interview on Rogan’s podcast, which tackled topics such as climate change, transportation, technology and innovation, space exploration and workplace stress.
Musk asserted, “I don’t think you’d necessarily want to be me, I don’t think people would like it that much.” These statements coincide with his alleged 120 hour work weeks, and overnight stays in the Tesla manufacturing plant. He also expressed the desire for “politicians to be better at science,” citing regulator issues as the largest inhibitor of climate-friendly innovation. He called humanity’s use of fossil fuels an “insane experiment.” The future of Musk’s role in his companies remains uncertain as investors and stakeholders continue to question the entrepreneur’s recent decisions.
Benjamin Popp is a third-year student double majoring in history and Latin with minors in civic and professional leadership and anthropology. BP863365@wcupa.edu.