The New York Times inspired some mockery Tuesday over its report about Tesla owners who were unsettled by CEO Elon Musk’s embrace of the «red pill.»
Musk has sparked headlines in recent weeks over his threat to take his California-based car factory elsewhere due to the state’s ongoing coronavirus shutdown orders.
However, a tweet he made over the weekend sparked excitement for some conservatives.
«Take the red pill,» Musk wrote Sunday.
The «red pill» is a reference to the 1999 sci-fi blockbuster «The Matrix,» which in later years has become symbolic of having a conservative awakening or, as The Times described it, «waking up to society’s grand lies.»
Musk defended the tweet to The Times, sharing Urban Dictionary’s definition: “‘’Red pill’ has become a popular phrase among cyberculture and signifies a free-thinking attitude, and a waking up from a ‘normal’ life of sloth and ignorance. Red pills prefer the truth, no matter how gritty and painful it may be.’”
According to the piece from Times tech reporter Nellie Bowles, a group of left-leaning owners of the luxury electric car was not happy with Musk’s recent political shift.
“Honestly, Musk is becoming a liability and the Tesla board needs to seriously consider ousting him,” author Markos Moulitsas told The Times. “And I say that as a proud owner of a Tesla and a SpaceX fanatic who truly appreciates what he’s built.”
“I am a Tesla owner and love the company. You have to stop being an idiot about this,» Raja Sohail Abbas wrote about Musk’s various comments about the coronavirus outbreak.
Brooklyn disc jockey Alex Goodchild said: «Tesla owner and Fan here, but this was a disappointing tweet despite the frustrations of and holdups. Words are weapons especially when used during situations like the one we’re currently experiencing. You sound just like Trump in this tweet.”
According to The Times, Musk’s tweet stirred up the Tesla fan community online.
“The last two months, there’s been this polarization in the Elon Musk fan club,” tech consultant Paula Timothy-Mellon said about the 22,000-member fan club on LinkedIn that he moderates. “There are those who are believers in these California guidelines and there are those in favor of his push to reopen Tesla.”
“If you own a Tesla, you feel you are directly connected to Elon Musk and people think that Tesla owners are directly connected to the politics of the CEO,” Tesla owner Sam Kelly explained.
However, The Times report about the conflicted Tesla owners made for good humor on social media.
«This is one of the funniest articles I’ve read in a long time,» Washington Free Beacon senior writer David Rutz said.
«Thoughts and prayers to America’s Tesla owners during this difficult time,» The Drive Media editorial director Patrick George tweeted.
«This reads as if the writer overdosed on blue pills,» Politico reporter Marc Caputo said.
«Is institutionalized stupidity a thing? If so, the NYT has it,» radio host Jason Rantz tweeted.
«This is an all time NYT tweet,» Washington Examiner executive editor Seth Mendel said.
Others invoked the controversial histories of other major car companies such as Ford and Volkswagen.
«Just wait until America’s drivers learn about Henry Ford!» RealClearInvestigatons senior writer Mark Hemingway tweeted. Conservative writer Noah Pollack added, «and what Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes were up to during WW2.»
«Boy do I have some news for you about the late Henry Ford,» political strategist Joe Perticone similarly said.