Elon Musk challenged by Tesla investor with trans child: ‘You’re punching down’

Elon Musk stands with a microphone, wearing an "occupy Mars" T-shirt

Elon Musk has been challenged by Tesla’s investors over his views on trans people and the LGBTQ+ community.

In the same month that he tweeted mocking pronouns, and urged people to follow conspiracy theorists QAnon, Musk reportedly told investors he would not “censor” his views on trans people. 

According to William LeGate, who live-tweeted a meeting Musk had about Tesla on a public Twitter space on Thursday (22 December), the billionaire stated that while he does not necessarily “hate” trans people, he will not “censor his own views”. 

“I’m not a hater of anyone, frankly,” Musk said when asked if he “hates” trans people during the meeting.

“It does bother me that people use pronouns to just be super judgemental,” he added, using the first-person pronoun “me”.

“Actually, to me it feels like a lot of these things are a shield to allow people to be a**holes, like a moral shield… it gives them an excuse to be an a**hole.”

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A user who claimed they have a trans child told Musk at the meeting that they were passionate about Tesla and owned shares in the company, however now had “mixed feelings” due to Musk’s comments on trans people. 

“It’s not always directly related to what you say, but some of the opinions or attention you draw to things like pronouns… it’s sad for me to watch that happen,” the user said.

Musk responded that he would not “suppress my views just to boost the stock price”.

Pushing back on Musk’s comments, the user said the Tesla CEO was “punching down to a really marginalised group”.

“My kid is just trying to have their pronoun used in school and stuff, then you have this really rich, popular person crapping on pronouns,” they added, before being cut off by Musk, who asked to move on to the next question. 

A study has found that transphobia on Twitter, including the use of offensive slurs, has “skyrocketed” since Musk’s purchase of the site

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), along with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), found in a study that anti-LGBTQ+ remarks have risen by at least 1,458 times a day since Musk took over in October. 

Despite the billionaire claiming the exact opposite, stating that hate speech was “down by a third from pre-spike levels”, a Twitter user claimed that, “transphobia in my mentions is the worst it’s ever been”. 

Another user claimed that hate speech has only gone down because Musk does not consider transphobia to be hate speech. 

ADL vice-president Yael Eisenstat said in a statement: “His actions to date show that he is not committed to a transparent process where he incorporates the best practices we have learned from civil society groups.

“Instead, he has emboldened racists, homophobes, and antisemites.”

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