Elon Musk is many things, most famously the man who had a brief stint as the wealthiest person on the planet. Soon after though, the Tesla billionaire again fell to the second-richest person in the world position. This Ironman-esque tech giant with an affliction towards space is also known for the way he attracts controversies. Always in the news, for one thing or the other, here are some of Elon’s most famous controversies. 

1. When Elon Musk offered his submarine to rescue children in the Thai cave catastrophe. 

in 2018, when 12 young soccer players got trapped in a cave in Thailand, Elon Musk offered the help of engineers from SpaceX and the Boring Company. He also deployed experts from Tesla to help design a pod that could be used to transport members of the soccer team who were stranded. Though his intentions were good, it did not end well for him. The Thai rescue team saved the children, but did not end up using his submarine or technology while doing so. 


Vernon Unsworth, the British rescuer involved in saving the children slammed Elon’s miniature submarine, by calling it a “PR stunt” and saying that it had absolutely no chance of working. Elon responded by calling Vernon a ‘pedo’ in his tweet. Obviously, people called him out for using the term pedophile. Elon did issue an apology after things got out of hand calling his tweet ‘a mistake’. 

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2. When he smoked pot on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Egged by Joe Rogan, Musk smoked marijuana after being assured that it was legal in California, while sipping on whiskey. This did not sit well with NASA and US Air Force. NASA said it will review workplace safety at SpaceX and Boeing Co., “including the adherence to a drug-free environment,” as the two companies geared up to fly astronauts to the International Space Station. 

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The US Air Force, who has multiple contracts with SpaceX, looked into the CEO as well since people with security clearances are prohibited from using marijuana. 

3. When he wanted to launch a website to rate the credibility of journalists

In 2018, Elon slammed big media companies for what he called their “holier-than-thou hypocrisy” after they reported the potential failure of his company’s partially self-driving system. In this threat, Elon said he was, “going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication.” 

The Sun

He planned to initially call it Pravda, which was formerly the name of a newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In a later tweet he said that it would be called ‘you’re right’ (a website which only redirects you to Facebook). However, not much came out of this after Elon’s 19-tweet rant. 


4. When Elon told his employees that they can spend time will their family once the company goes bankrupt. 

In Tesla’s early years, when the employees complained that their jobs were too demanding, Elon responded with, “I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt.” This quote was shared by a former employee Ryan Popple in Ashlee Vance’s book titled, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. It obviously made Elon look bad on social media. 


5. When Elon Musk said that we might be in a simulation 

Back in 2016, during Recode’s Code Conference, Elon said that, “There’s a billion-to-one chance we’re living in base reality,” and this conversation immediately went viral. Elon admitted that he thought about this AI / simulation conversation so often that his brother and him banned this topic from hot tubs. 


6. When Elon complained about public transport, like an entitled billionaire obviously would 

In 2017, during an event, Elon Musk slammed public transport saying, “It’s a pain in the ass. That’s why everyone doesn’t like it. And there’s like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer, OK, great. And so that’s why people like individualised transport, that goes where you want, when you want.”

Which is why he wants to create tunnels which would carry individual cars or eight to sixteen passenger “pods” on electric skates, traveling up to 150 mph. When he was called out for being rich about it on Twitter, Elon just responded by calling a Twitter user an idiot.


7. When Elon’s tweet left Tesla’s market value go down by $14 billion in hours.

Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla’s stock was “too high” and this resulted in its stock stumbling. Tesla stock was trading at 760.23 just before Musk tweeted and then fell to a session low of 717.64, before falling even more.


8. When Elon Musk got himself in trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

In 2018, he posted a tweet about Tesla “going private, funding secured” at $420 a share, which cost him his role as Chairman. Musk and Tesla reached a settlement of fraud charges with the US Securities and Exchange Commission as the SEC complained – Elon’s misleading tweets caused Tesla’s stock price to jump by over six percent. 


The settlement included $40 million in penalties, split between the company and Musk, and the removal of Musk as chairman of the Tesla board, the terms of the deal also asked Tesla to oversee Elon’s social-media communications. 

9. When he was against the Covid lockdown restrictions and said people can’t be forced to stay inside their houses. 

“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of their constitutional rights, in my opinion,” he said during a conference call. “It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the fuck. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”  

Elon also said that he and his family would not get vaccinated as the virus was merely being blown out of proportion. And when he himself got texted later, he said that his “Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse.” For which he was deemed “Space Karen” by the internet for saying that rapid tests (which are known to be inaccurate), were giving him different results.