Just when you thought you knew everything about Elon Musk, think again. From Tesla to SpaceX and beyond, Elon Musk has made headlines for more than just his innovative projects. Join us as we explore into the top 10 most controversial moments of this tech mogul extraordinaire.

Tweeting About Taking Tesla Private

While Elon Musk is known for his active presence on Twitter, his infamous tweet about taking Tesla private in August 2018 stirred up a storm of controversy.


Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share, causing a surge in the company’s stock price and leading to confusion among investors and regulators.

SEC Investigation Launched

An SEC investigation was launched following Musk’s tweet about taking Tesla private. The regulatory body was concerned about the veracity of Musk’s claim and the potential market manipulation that could have occurred as a result of the tweet.

Settlement Reached with SEC

Elon Musk and Tesla reached a settlement with the SEC, where Musk agreed to step down as Chairman of Tesla’s board, pay a $20 million fine, and have his tweets about the company pre-approved by Tesla’s legal team. The settlement was seen as a way to resolve the issue and move forward for both Musk and Tesla.


Tweeting about taking Tesla private was one of the most controversial moments in Elon Musk’s career, sparking a series of events that led to the SEC investigation and eventual settlement.

Smoking Marijuana on Podcast

Some may argue that one of the most controversial moments of Elon Musk was when he smoked marijuana during a live podcast with Joe Rogan. The incident caused a stir among fans, investors, and the media, with many questioning the CEO’s judgment and behavior.

Stock Price Takes a Hit

You can imagine the shockwaves this incident sent through Tesla’s stock price. The shares plummeted in the aftermath, highlighting how even small actions by Musk can have significant repercussions.

Backlash from Investors

To add insult to injury, investors were quick to voice their discontent over Musk’s behavior. Some feared that his actions could harm the company’s reputation and affect its standing in the industry.


Marijuana use, especially in a public setting, can be seen as controversial, particularly for a figure as visible as Elon Musk. While some supported his choice to partake, others criticized him for setting a questionable example as the head of a major corporation.

Calling Diver a “Pedo Guy”

Clearly, one of the most controversial moments involving Elon Musk was when he referred to a diver involved in the Thai cave rescue mission as a “pedo guy” on Twitter. This derogatory remark caused widespread backlash and led to a public apology from Musk.

Lawsuit Filed Against Musk

A lawsuit was filed against Musk by the diver he accused of being a “pedo guy.” The diver claimed that Musk’s remarks were false and defamatory, leading to a legal battle that further fueled the controversy surrounding Musk’s behavior.

Damaging to Tesla’s Reputation

Teslas: The incident of Musk calling the diver a “pedo guy” was not only damaging to his personal reputation but also had a negative impact on Tesla’s image. Shareholders and the public voiced concerns about Musk’s behavior affecting the company’s standing in the market.

Musk: The controversy surrounding Musk’s behavior highlighted the importance of responsible conduct for public figures, especially those leading prominent companies like Tesla. It served as a reminder of the significant impact that a leader’s actions can have on a company’s reputation and success.


Autopilot System Failure

Fatal Crash Raises Concerns

Crash: The fatal crash involving a Tesla operating on Autopilot raised concerns about the safety of the system. It highlighted the potential risks of relying too heavily on autonomous driving technology without adequate oversight and driver intervention.

NHTSA Investigation Launched

Launched: Following the fatal crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system. This probe aimed to determine if the technology was at fault and whether any regulatory action was necessary to prevent future incidents.

Raises: The NHTSA investigation into the Autopilot system raised questions about the level of autonomy in Tesla’s vehicles and the need for clearer guidelines on the capabilities and limitations of such features to ensure the safety of both drivers and pedestrians.

Mass Layoffs at Tesla

Workers Left Without Notice

To address cost-cutting measures, Tesla announced a significant layoff in 2018, affecting about 9% of its workforce. Unfortunately, many employees were caught off guard, receiving the news abruptly without much warning.


Criticism of Musk’s Leadership

While Musk cited the layoffs as necessary for Tesla’s long-term sustainability, critics raised concerns about the abruptness of the decision and its impact on the affected workers. Some pointed out that the move reflected poorly on Musk’s leadership style and decision-making process.

Tesla has since implemented changes in its communication strategies and handling of layoffs to ensure more transparency and support for employees during challenging times.

Disputes with Labor Unions

Allegations of Union Busting

Unlike his accomplishments in the tech industry, Elon Musk has been no stranger to controversies, particularly when it comes to his disputes with labor unions. Allegations of union busting have surrounded Musk and his companies, with accusations of anti-union efforts tarnishing his reputation.

National Labor Relations Board

On the other hand, Musk’s clashes with labor unions have also involved official bodies like the National Labor Relations Board. One notable incident was when Tesla was found guilty of unfair labor practices by the board, further exacerbating the tensions between Musk and labor unions.


One of the key points of contention with the National Labor Relations Board was Tesla’s restrictive confidentiality agreements and rules surrounding union organizing efforts, which the board deemed as inhibiting employees’ rights to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection.

Cybertruck’s Shattered Window

Embarrassing Debut for Tesla

Shattered. During the unveiling of Tesla’s highly anticipated Cybertruck, Elon Musk’s team faced an embarrassing moment when the supposedly shatterproof windows shattered during a live demonstration. The mishap quickly went viral, overshadowing the futuristic design of the electric pickup.

Questions About Quality Control

Embarrassing. The incident raised doubts among consumers about the quality control measures at Tesla. Some questioned whether the company’s rush to innovate had compromised the product’s reliability. Despite Musk’s reassurances that improvements would be made, the gaffe left a lasting impression on potential buyers.

Cybertrucks. Despite the hiccup, the Cybertruck continues to generate buzz for its cutting-edge features and unique design. Tesla enthusiasts eagerly anticipate future releases, hoping for a smoother rollout and flawless performance.

SolarCity Acquisition Controversy

Conflicts of Interest Raised

Acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest since Elon Musk was the largest shareholder in both companies. Critics argued that the deal may not have been in the best interest of Tesla shareholders.

Shareholder Lawsuits Filed

Little after the acquisition, several shareholder lawsuits were filed against Tesla’s board members, including Musk. Shareholders alleged that Musk and the board did not properly evaluate the acquisition and that it was crucially a bailout for SolarCity, which was facing financial difficulties.

You can understand why shareholders would be concerned about the acquisition and its impact on Tesla’s financial health. It’s important for companies to address such allegations seriously to maintain trust and transparency with their shareholders.

Disputes with Short Sellers

Musk’s Twitter Attacks Backfire

With Musk’s penchant for using Twitter as his platform of choice, he has engaged in numerous public spats with short sellers. However, his confrontational approach has often backfired, leading to legal troubles and increased scrutiny from regulatory authorities.


Short Sellers Gain Upper Hand

Any investor knows that short sellers can pose a significant challenge to stock prices, and Elon Musk is no exception. Despite his efforts to defy them, short sellers have managed to gain the upper hand at times, causing Tesla’s stock to fluctuate and creating more volatility for the company.

Twitter has been a battleground for Musk and short sellers, with the CEO using the platform to taunt and challenge those betting against Tesla’s success. However, these public spats have sometimes led to negative consequences for Musk and his company, as regulators and investors pay close attention to his online behavior.


Conclusively, Elon Musk’s journey as a prominent figure in tech and entrepreneurship has been marked by several controversial moments, from his bold statements on Twitter to his unorthodox business decisions.

While some applaud his innovative ideas and visionary thinking, others criticize his unconventional approach and outspoken nature.

Love him or hate him, Elon Musk continues to spark discussions and debates within the tech industry and beyond.