Langley: Elon Musk — One of the Least Trustworthy Men in the World


Elon Musk (CC BY-NC 3.0)

By Jeffrey Langley Jr., Opinion Editor


Elon Musk, the CEO of massive enterprises like SpaceX, The Boring Company and Tesla, acquired Twitter for $44 billion last week. Consequently, Musk has enjoyed a lot of public spotlight recently. While many, especially younger generations, look up to Musk as an innovator, visionary and even genius, some, including myself, find an issue in those assumptions.

Because of his general irresponsibility, labor violations and imperialistic, selfish tendencies, Musk deserves far less respect. Musk’s actions have proven him to be untrustworthy and utterly undeserving of his praise and public platform.

He’s a Terrible Boss

While Tesla is the largest electric car company, workers describe laboring for Musk as far from enjoyable. To begin, many workers toil in unhealthy and dangerous conditions. Injuries and exhaustion occur frequently during the Tesla work week, which is up to six days long. Also, medical staff at Tesla are not allowed to call 911 without permission and regularly send workers to the hospital in Lyfts to cut costs.

Not only do workers at Tesla face unrealistic expectations, but they work in some of the most unsafe auto-mechanic working environments in America. Tesla committed the most OSHA violations of any car plant in the United States. Further, they committed three times as many violations as the 10 largest plants in America combined.

Workers at Tesla don’t attempt to unionize under such conditions because Musk is a union-busting bully, using manipulation and threats to keep his workers in line. Fortunately for Musk’s employees, workers have had some victories against Musk, holding him accountable for his actions.

Of course, these actions have earned him a negative reputation among members of the public. When interviewed about Musk, Harrison Larson, a first-year student from Utah State University, said, “He doesn’t do a lot, but people think that he does … he’s just another really rich capitalist person. So he doesn’t, in my view, help a lot in the greater world. He just kind of makes money off of dumb things.”

Musk’s Infamous Twitter Activities

Like other controversial figures, Musk uses Twitter in often extraordinarily questionable and irresponsible ways. In a well-known example, Musk called a rescuer a “pedo guy” after having an impractical invention of his criticized. Unfortunately, however, his tweets can be much worse.

He called panic about COVID-19 dumb while giving out misleading information. He has displayed blatant transphobia and sexism, as well as many more ugly things. His abuse of free speech has riled some feelings from students here on campus. Corie Paige, a political science student from the University of Utah, said, “I’m just not a big fan of some of the things he said on Twitter and in public.”

Recently, Musk’s tweets inflamed international relations. In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and rising tension between China and Taiwan, Musk tweeted two peace deals of his own making. Both favored Chinese and Russian imperialism and called for annexing or incorporating Ukrainian territory and Taiwan. Ukrainian and Taiwanese officials returned with harsh backlash, and Musk responded by pulling out Starlink services in Ukraine. With tweets and actions like these, it’s hard to fathom how low Musk can stoop.

His Most Recent Actions

Musk’s novel infrastructure projects and ideas also earn him lots of attention. Namely, the Hyperloop, headed by The Boring Company, is a vacuum-sealed, high-speed train that Musk says could travel around 700 mph. When California began the construction of its high-speed rail system, Musk quickly challenged them with this design. However, Musk admitted that he never intended to construct this project and only presented it to halt construction.

To end where we began, Musk plans to soon cut off 75% of Twitter’s workforce. While the company has experienced a downturn lately, Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has further exacerbated its fall. Musk stated that his goal was merely to make Twitter a place with more free speech. Of course, this extension of free speech extends to controversial figures like Donald Trump, for example. He essentially only aims to allow anyone, including himself, to say whatever sickening things they want without repercussions.

For all these reasons and many, many more, Musk does not deserve his praise or success. Considering the damage he’s caused through his words and actions, it’s a wonder he wasn’t silenced or ignored by the public years ago. The public needs to take action to prevent this oligarch from gaining more power to dictate and destroy our lives.


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