Elon Musk poses at a space event

Elon Musk Dangles Promise To Solve World Hunger on Twitter Instead Of, You Know, Actually Solving It

Tax the rich.

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Billionaire (and C+ Tony Stark) Elon Musk took to Twitter to make the world an offer it couldn’t refuse. He offered to donate $6 billion to solve world hunger, provided that the UN World Food Program (WFP) could describe exactly how the funds would solve the global issue via Twitter thread.

The promise is a response to a CNN Business headline which read, “2% of Elon Musk’s wealth could help solve world hunger, says director of UN food scarcity organization.” UN World Food Programme director David Beasley called on billionaires like Musk and Jeff Bezos, asking them to “step up now, on a one-time basis.” He added, “$6 billion to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated.”

Musk responded to a retweet of the article, tweeting, “If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.”

He added, “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.” Wanting transparency in donating a huge sum of money isn’t unreasonable. But in playing this out for the public on Twitter, Musk comes across as a deeply stingy and uncharitable man. And framing his potential donation as a Twitter challenge only shows how little this all matters to him. $6 billion dollars is 2% of Musk’s total net worth, a drop in the bucket for one of the world’s richest men.

So why not just … donate the money? Or if you are doubtful of the WFP’s ability to properly distribute funds, then build your own charity. Musk certainly has more than enough money to make either of these things happen. But he doesn’t, because he’d rather blast people off to Mars and colonize dead planets instead of saving the one on which he currently resides.

Good faith offers from people like Abigail Disney and humanitarian Chef José Andrés went unanswered:

UN World Food Programme director Beasley responded to the online controversy saying, “I’m not picking on them [Bezos and Musk] … I’m saying, ‘Great, you made money. Please, please help share right now in a one-time crisis.'” He added, “For him to even enter into this conversation is a game-changer because simply put, we can answer his questions, we can put forth a plan that’s clear,” Beasley told CNN Tuesday. “Any and everything he asks, we would be glad to answer. I look forward to having this discussion with him because lives are at stake.”

Musk’s cavalier behavior is proof that we cannot rely on the “goodness” of billionaires alone. They need to be taxed fairly to redistribute wealth and actually improve life on this planet. Men like Musk and Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have the financial power to literally change the world. They could lift millions of people out of poverty, but they would rather play pretend astronaut in their penis-shaped rockets. It’s truly that simple.

But this isn’t the first time Musk made promises he refused to keep. Anyone remember his promise to mass-produce ventilators at the height of the pandemic? Or his promise to build solar panels for the hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico?

Instead, Musk is calling out the U.N. for sexual abuse within its ranks. But if he really cared, why not fund an impartial third party to investigate these abuses? Or donate money to charities that help survivors of sexual abuse? Or help lift people out of poverty and break certain abusive cycles? Or do literally anything to help anyone besides himself? Because it’s more fun to dangle crumbs and watch people dance for them.

Many took to social media to roast Musk and his ghoulish promise:

Of course, Musk will reap all the goodwill of his “promise,” and will likely end up donating nothing to help solve world hunger. He’s too busy playing squid games with the U.N. and trolling the world to actually do something with his exorbitant wealth. Now, more than ever, it’s time to eat the rich.

(image: Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.