California’s Bay Area is currently under a shelter-in-place order, meaning no one is supposed to leave their current place of residence except for “essential business.” And apparently, Tesla’s Elon Musk considers his electric cars “essential,” because he’s still suggesting his 10,000 employees report to work, if passive-aggressively.
According to the Washington Post, Musk sent an email to his employees technically giving them permission to stay home while pointing out that he’ll be at work, reinforcing the toxic workplace mentality that stigmatizes prioritizing their own health.
“I’d like to be super clear that if you feel the slightest bit ill or even uncomfortable, please don’t feel obligated to come to work,” he wrote Monday night. “I will personally be at work, but that is just me. Totally OK if you want to stay home for any reason.”
Musk has made it clear that he’s not taking the coronavirus seriously. A few weeks ago, he tweeted that the “coronavirus panic is dumb,” and apparently, he still feels that way. In addition to making employees risk their health to show up to work at his factory, Musk is back on Twitter telling everyone how easy he thinks it would be to fix this whole silly little global pandemic.
On Wednesday evening, Musk tweeted, “My guess is that the panic will cause more harm than the virus, if that hasn’t happened already.”
Earlier in the week, Musk wrote that the “danger of panic still far exceeds danger of corona imo,” adding, “If we over-allocate medical resources to corona, it will come at expense of treating other illnesses.”
When someone told him to “stop being an idiot about this” and use some of his massive resources to make much-needed medical ventilators, Musk responded that he “will make ventilators if there is a shortage.” IF!
Elon Musk saying “I’ll make ventilators IF there’s a shortage” is like your partner looking at you holding a screaming baby, in front of a stove, with a sink full of dirty dishes, and saying “Of course I’m here to help you IF you need it” as he walks off to play video games.
— Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing) March 19, 2020
When people pointed out to Musk that there already is a dangerous ventilator shortage, he asked for specifics.
Tesla makes cars with sophisticated hvac systems. SpaceX makes spacecraft with life support systems. Ventilators are not difficult, but cannot be produced instantly. Which hospitals have these shortages you speak of right now?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 19, 2020
Is crowdsourcing Twitter really the best way to get this kind of information? I have to think it’s not.
Elon, have you been reading the news? Every hospital. You make them, and folks will put them where they need to be.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 19, 2020
Read a newspaper please Elon just one newspaper
— non podhoretz (NOT the guy from commentary) (@crookedroads770) March 19, 2020
Gotta be honest, it’s kind of hard to take you seriously on this when you’re asking Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight Dot Com which hospitals have ventilator shortages.
— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) March 19, 2020
This is, of course, Elon Musk’s entire thing. This is the same Elon Musk who promised to solve Flint’s water crisis but refused to listen to what the city actually needed—the Elon Musk who offered to help rescue those young soccer players stuck in a cave in Thailand in 2018 and then hurled insults online at one of the divers who actually did it.
So sure, offering to solve the coronavirus and then making Nate Silver tell him where the hospitals are seems entirely on-brand.
been crunching some numbers and my modelling is suggesting that the number of usuable hospital ventilators @elonmusk will manufacture is: 0
— Tim Maughan (@timmaughan) March 19, 2020
Elon Musk asking which hospitals need ventilators is not an offer to help. It’s him condescendingly rebuffing requests for help. He’s suggesting there is no problem that needs solving.
— Alexandra Erin (@AlexandraErin) March 19, 2020
Can’t wait for Elon Musk to deliver, at 200x the cost of a normal ventilator, a rough approximation of a mid-1930s iron lung that leaks because he tried to machine titanium to airtight precision instead of using gaskets
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) March 19, 2020
Nope. Sorry. If this is the Elon Musk day of quarantine I’m tapping out
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) March 19, 2020
(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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