April 23, 2022 Tom Ozimek
Elon Musk said he had confronted fellow billionaire Bill Gates over the Microsoft founder’s supposed holding of some $500 million in Tesla shorts in a series of testy text messages in which Musk rebuffed Gates’ request to discuss climate change philanthropy.
In an April 22 tweet, Musk confirmed the veracity of a text message exchange between him and Gates, in which the Microsoft founder admitted he was short-selling shares of Tesla, meaning that he was betting on the stock dropping in price.
“Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out,” Gates reportedly replied, following it up with a request “to discuss philanthropy possibilities.”
Musk replied by saying he couldn’t take Gates’ proposal seriously if the latter was betting on a drop in Tesla shares.
The @WholeMarsBlog account posted a follow-up tweet to the screengrabs, tagging Musk and asking him whether the exchange was real.
Musk replied by confirming its accuracy, though he said he hadn’t leaked it and it must have gotten out “through friends of friends.”
“I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret,” Musk wrote.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Gates’ media relations team for comment.
‘Shadow Ban Council’
In what appeared to be a fresh salvo in the apparent spat between the two billionaires, Musk on Saturday posted a tweet of a meme poking fun at Gates’ physical shape, which he followed with another tweet suggesting that Twitter moderators were considering whether to take action.
“Shadow ban council reviewing tweet …” Musk wrote, along with an image of cloaked, shadowy figures apparently assembled for some kind of meeting.
Musk has repeatedly taken aim at Twitter for what he has described as the company’s opaque moderation policies while questioning the platform’s commitment to free speech.
He recently bought nearly 10 percent of the company and later offered to buy all remaining shares, saying he has plans to shake up the company’s moderation policies, which have been accused of anti-conservative bias.
Twitter has repeatedly denied claims of censoring some minority and politically conservative viewpoints.
Musk told the audience at a TED talk in Vancouver, Canada that his aim in seeking to buy Twitter was to transform it into an “inclusive arena for free speech,” taking it private and making it open-source for maximum transparency.
“In my view, Twitter should match the laws of the country,” Musk said, acknowledging reasonable legal caps on free speech like direct incitement to violence or the equivalent of crying “fire” in a movie theater.