Let’s Remember Some of Elon Musk’s Not-So-Great Twitter Moments

Musk is buying Twitter, but he can’t buy his way out of a few bad tweets.

byRob Stumpf|
Getty Images
Getty Images.


Elon Musk is buying Twitter. Or, in other words, the world's richest person has purchased a new toy and is promising more free speech, fewer bots, and perhaps, even more Elon. After all, it's his platform now.

But using that platform hasn't always yielded the greatest returns for the Tesla CEO. And while it has bolstered his position as the internet's favorite meme lord, it's gotten him in a pickle a lot more often than the average person. Perhaps it's time to look at some of the Musk-iest Twitter debacles of all time.


Musk has been a very open critic of COVID-19 and the way government entities have handled it. In fact, he spent quite a few months doubling down on the pandemic being overplayed and even predicted that there would be "close to zero new cases" by the end of April 2020. Naturally, he was appalled at the idea that the pandemic might shut down his factories.

Eventually, Musk started a spat with the government of Alameda, California when Tesla's production in Fremont was declared not to be an essential business. And yes, that made it to Twitter, along with threats to move the company out of California—which it later did, with Tesla being headquartered in Austin, Texas now.

Tesla eventually caved to pressure and temporarily shut down production, but not before drawing heat from lawmakers.

"Pedo Guy"

Back in 2018, a boys' soccer team in Thailand was trapped in a cave system after rising floodwaters blocked their return path. International aid was offered, including from Musk himself. One explorer credited for being instrumental in extracting the kids, Vernon Unsworth, publicly criticized Musk's involvement, which began a rather one-sided Twitter spat.

Musk infamously called Unsworth a "pedo guy" and poked the lawsuit bear. Unsworth sued and ultimately lost the defamation lawsuit, but the tweets (mostly) remain.

The Farting Unicorn

Similar versions (though not direct copies) of the artwork were used in-car and on Tesla company Christmas cards. Musk was accused of stealing the artwork by the artist's daughter.

He followed up by saying that it would be "lame" if the artist decided to sue Tesla and that the attention actually increased the sale of his mugs with the artwork. It did, too, as the artist said that he sold around 100 coffee mugs after Musk's tweet.

Tweeting at Senators Who Suggest The Richest Person in the World Pay More Taxes

In late 2021, tax reform—including billionaires paying their fair share in taxes—was a hot-button topic. Around the same time, Musk also let Twitter decide if he should sell $20 billion in Tesla stock. They voted yes, and he stuck to his word.

Musk proceeded to tweet at two very vocal senators: Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Wyden also happens to be the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and called out Musk directly by quoting his Twitter poll. Musk responded with a rather sly innuendo. Later, he did the same to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, too.

$420 Funding Secured

If you haven't been living under a rock, you'll know this one: the infamous "funding secured" tweet that caused Musk a whole lot of trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In fact, it was this tweet that ultimately got him kicked out of the Tesla board chairman role and slapped with a $20 million fine.

The SEC said Musk's tweet (and supposed offer) was definitely a weed reference, so there's also that.

"We allege that Musk had arrived at the price of $420 by assuming a 20 percent premium of what Tesla's then-existing share price (was), and then rounding up to $420 because of the significance of that number in marijuana culture, and his belief that his girlfriend would be amused by it," said SEC Co-Director of Enforcement, Steven Peikin.

Part of the SEC's settlement with Musk was that he would be issued a company-appointed Twitter babysitter to ensure that his tweets wouldn't affect Tesla's stock price.

Musk's battle with the SEC is still an ongoing one, with rather some rather vivid tweets. The infamous funding secured post is still echoed on Twitter, and new information about the entire ordeal is still unraveling even today.

And Just Remember

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