Tesla CEO Elon Musk called shelter-in-place guidelines “fascist” during a shockingly profane Tesla quarterly earnings call on Wednesday, saying the measures were infringing on people’s rights.
“To say that they cannot leave their house and they’ll be arrested if they do? This is fascist,” Musk said. “This is not democratic, this is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”
Neither the California or federal shelter-in-place guidelines penalize those who go outside with arrest.
Musk was responding to an analyst’s query during the question-and-answer period of Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call, in which the company was touting its $16 million profit.
“I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry,” Musk said during his off-the-cuff remarks.
At an earlier point in the call, Musk said the expansion of the shelter-in-place rules was “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights.”
He said the guidelines were “breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America or built this country.
“What the fuck,” he added, before apologizing for the profanity.
“It’s an outrage,” he said. “It will cause great harm not just to Tesla, but to many companies. And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not.”
Musk’s criticism comes after a tweet storm early Wednesday morning in which Musk urged authorities to “FREE AMERICA NOW” and railed against the guidelines.
“Yes, reopen with care & appropriate protection, but don’t put everyone under de facto house arrest,” Musk tweeted.
Public health experts have advised Americans to stay at home and keep their distance from others to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There were nearly 24,000 new reported cases of coronavirus Wednesday, with just under 2,250 people dying of the disease in the U.S. on Wednesday alone.
Earlier in the call, Musk had focused on Tesla’s performance during the coronavirus crisis, saying the electric vehicle giant’s Model Y was already profitable and way ahead of schedule.
Musk also said Tesla would be cutting the cost of its standard Model 3 car in China to allow the vehicle to qualify for new eligibility requirements for subsidies.
In addition to his discussion of coronavirus shelter-in-place rules, Musk pushed for the U.S. to invest in infrastructure that supported “transportation of the future.” Musk praised infrastructure projects in the EU and China and urged lawmakers not to fall behind.
“It’s really quite sad, the U.S. infrastructure, especially roads and highways. is the way it is today,” Musk said, calling the state of America’s airports an “embarrassment.”
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