Elon Musk dismissed a serious question from investors about his negative impact on Tesla’s reputation following his political comments and Twitter acquisition.
He not only dismissed the question but instead responded by bragging about his number of followers.
During Tesla’s Q4 2022 conference call following the release of its financial results, Musk was asked a question about his impact on Tesla’s reputation:
Since Elon started political influencing, polls from Morning Consult & YouGov show Tesla brand favorability declining in 2022 and division along partisan lines. Such brand damage can impact demand. Does Tesla track favorability and how will any brand damage be mitigated?
The question is a serious one that was requested by over 3,000 Tesla retail investors. Musk decided to dismiss the question with a response that can be best described as douchey.
He started out by literally bragging about how many people are following him on Twitter, as if this is any indicator of his impact on Tesla’s reputation:
Well, let me check my Twitter account (pause as he appears to actually pull out his phone). So I got 127 million followers and it continues to grow rapidly. That suggests that I’m reasonably popular. Now I might not be popular with some people, but for the vast majority of people, my follower count speaks for itself. I have the most interacted social account maybe in the world – certainly on Twitter.
The CEO only mentioned Tesla in his response for a second by making the claim that he “believes Twitter is an incredible [tool] to create demand for Tesla.” He never addressed the actual question, which was about his political comments affecting Tesla. The question never mentioned Twitter.
The Tesla CEO continued by coming just a hair short of trying to sell Twitter ads to other car companies and asking them to use Twitter more. Again, that’s during a Tesla earnings call, talking to Tesla shareholders who just took a massive hit from Musk selling Tesla shares to buy the social media platform.
This is a ridiculous answer, and I lost respect for Musk because of it.
First off, who the hell brags about their number of followers on Twitter? Is he a teenager?
But more importantly, he basically dismissed the question, which points to him completely missing the point. A point that is obvious to most people.
Top comment by monty Manto
I'm sometimes critical of Lambert opinions about Musk as I'm a total supporter of Musk. But on this one I agree with Lambert. I think Lambert has integrity and is not carried away either way like some haters or super fans. I applaud him for this.
That point is that regardless of your political inclinations, most people can understand that the CEO and
main only spokesperson for a company openly and actively taking a side in American politics, which are highly polarizing, is plain bad for business since you alienate a large part of the population.
Musk’s comments about Democrats, especially saying things like the Democratic Party is “the party of hate,” is undoubtedly bad for business.
Instead of recognizing this behavior as a marketing faux pas (at best) and adjusting to reduce the negative impact on Tesla’s important mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, he decides to say, “look at my Twitter follower count.”
That’s so dumb. Yeah, you have a lot of people following you on Twitter. That’s just more people to piss off with your careless statements. Perhaps he believes in P.T. Barnum’s adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
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