A photo of an alleged bumper sticker on a Tesla vehicle is sparking debate on Reddit around whether or not it’s ethically problematic to buy one of these cars while Elon Musk — a man making a strong run for the Worst Guy Award — owns the company. The photo in question shows a Tesla with a California license plate that sports a sticker saying “I bought this before we knew Elon was crazy.”
It’s difficult to confirm whether the entirety of the photo is real, as it’s pretty easy to Photoshop a sticker like that onto any car, but the sentiment is fueling an argument in the comments regardless.
This topic has been debate before, of course, and over many years prior to anyone knowing Musk’s name. There’s no doubt that purchasing a product, particularly one as expensive as a new car, benefits the owner of the company both in net wealth and in boosting the image and stock value of the company itself. Musk has used the success of Tesla to not only better his reputation as a business man and alleged tech guru, but to help finance his purchase of Twitter.
However, the question remains as to whether an individual consumer actually holds any responsibility for the damage that the billionaire owner causes and how much, and if people who have owned Teslas for years have anything to be ashamed of.
Musk had done some pretty awful things prior to buying Twitter, but should everyone be expected to research or at all consider a business owner’s ethics before making a purchase?
“To be fair if you paid close attention you could even see it in the beginning,” wrote one Redditor. “For example the way he claimed to have invented PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and Neurolink when all of these companies existed well before he got involved with them and he was basically just an early investor. The way he claimed to be selfmade when he literally inherited an emerald mine.”
Some have firmly expressed that they’re sick of “politics” leaking into everything, while others argue that the politics were there in the first place and this is just the first time certain people are being confronted with the potential consequences of their actions.
“People who harass other people for having a Tesla are f—ing sad,” said a commenter. “Yeah, I hate Elon. I’m still getting a Tesla though. People like to politicize everything for some reason, just let people be free for god’s sake.”
“Any other time I’d agree with you, but let’s cut the s–t here,” another replied. “Elon is the FACE of Tesla. He made it his mission for the longest time to make himself synonymous with the brand. If Elon becomes political then so does Tesla by extension. If you didn’t want to deal with that then you shouldn’t buy from a car brand where the CEO wants to be a pop culture rockstar.”
This is true not only with Tesla, but with most or all of the companies he has owned or had a large role in financing. Multiple people who have been close to Musk or written his biographies have noted that he seems to get extremely upset when he feels like he’s not getting enough credit or being acknowledged for his involvement.
And there are plenty more avenues this debate has traveled down in a Reddit thread that now has hundreds of comments.