Why Elon Musk targeted Bill Gates on Twitter

Elon Musk mocked Bill Gates on social media by likening him to Emoji depicting a pregnant man After the Microsoft co-founder was accused of shorting Tesla shares while declaring his commitment to combating climate change.

On Friday, Musk claimed he exchanged text messages with Gates, who said he wanted to “discuss the possibilities of philanthropy” with the head of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk added that he was in no mood to collaborate with Gates after the software pioneer asserted that he had “not closed” his $500 million short position in Tesla.

“Sorry, but I can’t take your philanthropy about climate change seriously when you have a short-term position against Tesla, the company that is doing everything it can to solve climate change,” Musk wrote in a text message to Gates.

Musk, who is said to be close to a deal to acquire Twitter, tweeted that the New York Times had obtained the transcripts, although the newspaper did not report them.

The text messages were exchanged through the Musk loyalist Twitter account, wholemarsblog, which is operated by Omar Qazi.

Musk claimed on Twitter that Gates sold Tesla short for half a billion dollars.
Rick Davis / SplashNews.com

A judge and Musk are accused in a defamation and harassment lawsuit brought by Aaron Greenspan, founder of the public records database Plainsite. Greenspan is an audio short seller for Tesla and has criticized Musk.

The Post has reached out to Gates’ representatives for comment.

A short position, or “short sale,” is held when an investor bets that the company’s stock price will fall.

Last year, Gates told The Times, “It’s important to say that what Elon did with Tesla is one of the biggest contributions to climate change anyone has ever made. And you know that underestimating Elon is not a good idea.”

An investor who sells shares profits short if the value of the stock drops. The investor borrows the shares out and then sells the borrowed shares to buyers at the market price.

The investor sells them with the intent to buy them back later for less money.

But Gates added that switching to electric cars would have little effect in the fight against climate change.

What Tesla does, he said, were “easy things, like passenger cars.”

“We’re basically not doing enough of the hard stuff: steel, cement, meat,” Gates told The Times.

“Unfortunately, the things people think about — electricity, passenger cars — are one-third of the problem. So we have to work on two-thirds.”

“If all you care about is those short-term metrics, not the green premiums across the board, you’re missing out on what’s the longest lead, the hard stuff.”

After learning that Gates had bought an all-electric Porsche instead of a Tesla, Musk tweeted in 2020: “My conversations with Gates have been very frustrating.”

Musk and Gates also went back and forth after philanthropist attacked Musk for his dismissive comments about the coronavirus pandemic.

Musk wondered how Gates could comply with climate change while betting on Tesla's failure.
Musk wondered how Gates could comply with climate change while betting on Tesla’s failure.
Getty Images

“Elon’s position is to maintain a high level of outrageous commentary,” Gates, whose charitable foundation has worked to help develop a vaccine and improve disease surveillance, told CNBC in July 2020.

“He doesn’t get much involved in vaccines. He makes a great electric car. His rockets work really well, so he’s allowed to say these things. I hope he doesn’t confuse the areas he doesn’t get involved in much.”

In response, Musk sarcastically said, “Billy J is not my lover” — meant to be a play on Michael Jackson’s lyrics to the song “Billie Jean.”

“The rumors that Bill Gates and I are in love are completely untrue,” Musk tweeted.


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