Like the protesters who’ve taken to America’s streets with signs comparing stay-at-home orders to Nazi tactics, Elon Musk thinks there’s something “fascist” about the attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus throughout the U.S.
The Tesla CEO ranted about stay-at-home orders on a company earnings call Wednesday, referring to such measures as “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights.” He said the orders are “breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong.” He added: “What the fuck!”
Musk, whose company made a $16 million first-quarter profit, continued: “If somebody wants to stay in the house that’s great. They should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do … this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.” Audio is below:
Musk spoke about Tesla’s production facility in Fremont, California, before launching into the rant. The plant was shut down on March 23 after initially continuing to operate in defiance of a local shelter-in-place order. Tesla was making plans to reopen on May 4, when the order was set to end. But a handful of Bay Area counties this week said the order would go through the end of May. Because of this extension, Musk said, Tesla is “a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area.”
After Musk’s rant, the audio on the call cut out, according to reporters who were listening in. After the call resumed, “Musk was noticeably more subdued,” Protocol reports.