Investors have finally had enough of Tesla CEO Elon Musk
The stock fell roughly 4% Thursday after Musk highlighted an antisemitic conspiracy theory, then issued a series of seemingly bigoted tweets on X, the social media platform he bought last year.
Musk has 163.2 million followers.
Musk first praised a (verified) user — called "The Artist Formerly Known as Eric" — for saying that "Jewish communities" have been pushing "hatred against whites."
The user wrote that he is "deeply disinterested" in caring about "western Jewish populations coming to the disturbing realization that those hordes of minorities that support flooding their country don't exactly like them too much."
Musk, the world's richest man, agreed.
"You have said the actual truth," he replied.
Musk, who leads SpaceX, X, xAI, Neuralink and the Boring Company, in addition to Tesla, has a net worth of $225 billion, according to Bloomberg.
For the record, I don’t think Elon is racist or an antisemite, but it doesn’t matter what I think (or what he thinks).— James Cat (@TSLAFanMtl) November 16, 2023
What matters is, as Tesla’s CEO, he has no business sticking his nose into this narrative to begin with. There’s literally nothing to gain from all this.
Musk, however, was not done.
He went on to say that the Anti-Defamation League — a non-profit organization founded in 1913 to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all" — "unjustly attacks" the majority of the West.
"It is not right and needs to stop," he said.
Musk has been feuding with the ADL for months, blaming the group explicitly for Twitter's 60% drop in ad revenue. The ADL has previously worked to identify antisemitism on the platform, criticizing Musk's lax content moderation policies and his engagement with fringe accounts.
Musk said in September that he intends to file a defamation lawsuit against the ADL. Such a suit has yet to materialize.
Musk, continuing his thread, acknowledged that not all Jewish communities promote such so-called anti-white hatred, but he said it is "not just limited to ADL."
Musk added that he is "deeply offended" by the apparent messaging of the ADL and other groups who push "de-facto anti-white racism."
He provided neither evidence nor examples to back these claims.
The ADL has said that it often faces criticism from all sides of the political spectrum but has maintained that it is nonpartisan, intent only on fighting extremism and antisemitism.
"At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one's influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories. #NeverIsNow," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, said in response to Musk's exchange.
Even the Tesla bulls cannot abide
It did not take long for the criticism to begin rolling in against Musk.
IBM, in a statement to the Financial Times, said that it has "suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
Prominent AI researcher Gary Marcus said in response to the tweets that he is "taking an X timeout."
"This really bothers me," he said.
X, returning an automated message — "busy now, please check back later" — did not respond to TheStreet's request for comment.
The ill will spread to some of Tesla's most prominent bulls, with Gary Black, managing partner of The Future Fund, writing in a post that Musk "has to stop the anti-Semitic remarks before he damages the Tesla brand."
And there it is. New low of day. Congrats to Elon for screwing everyone again today. $TSLA— squawksquare (@squawksquare) November 16, 2023
As of noon on Thursday, two of Black's clients had contacted him to express their "outrage" over Musk's comments.
"I want to believe the CEO’s attitudes and Tesla brand equity are not linked but my common sense tells me otherwise," he said.
Black's replies are filled with users defending Musk, saying that his posts were not antisemitic and that he is "allowed to have opinions."
In response to a user who said Black knew what he signed up for when he bought into Tesla (and Musk), Black said that he loves the company and the mission, but maintained that Musk's comments will hurt the brand.
Today:— Gary Black (@garyblack00) November 16, 2023
$TSLA -4.2% vs NDX -0.1%
10yr TY 4.44% -9.0bp
This ain’t rocket science folks.
"I realize this won’t make me popular but someone needs to speak the truth," he said.
At last check, Black's Tesla price target was $300.
Ross Gerber, the co-founder and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, noted a similar experience.
"Getting a flood of messages from clients wanting out of Tesla and anything to do with Elon Musk," he wrote in a post on X. "Many saying they are selling their cars as well. What is he doing to the Tesla brand??!!?!"
Gerber owned 420,000 shares of Tesla as of May 2023.
In a subsequent series of posts, Gerber said that Musk has "now gone too far. He's like Trump now."
In response to one user who defended Musk's post by saying that the media is attacking him, Gerber said: "Easy to blame the 'media' for his abhorrent behavior."
"Sadly, this is a win for Rivian," he wrote in a subsequent post. "I will be replacing my Tesla Model Y for a Rivian next year and I'm sure the rest of LA will as well."
Gerber had been a fan of the company for years.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino said in a post that the company's point of view has always been that discrimination by everyone should stop across the board.
"When it comes to this platform — X has also been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There's no place for it anywhere in the world — it's ugly and wrong. Full stop," she said.
This comes more than a month after Hamas' massacre of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 in what has become the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust.
The ADL on Oct. 24 reported a significant spike in antisemitic incidents across the U.S. since the attack, noting that reports of harassment, assault and vandalism have increased nearly 400% year-over-year.
The ADL recorded a total of 312 antisemitic incidents during that period, incidents that included assaults of and death threats against Jewish people.
Tesla shares fell more than 4% Thursday, erasing some of the stock's recent gains.
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