A hot potato: In its earnings call yesterday, Tesla beat analysts’ estimates for its first-quarter revenue, but that’s not what most people are talking about. Elon Musk overshadowed the results by ranting against shelter-in-place orders, which he called “fascist” and claimed infringed on people’s rights.
Tesla recorded 88,400 sales between January and March, along with a profit of $16 million. Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this marks the third quarter in a row that the company has recorded a profit.
During the call, Musk said he did not know when Tesla’s Freemont, California factory would reopen, lambasting the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order. “We are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area,” explained the CEO. “The extension of shelter-in-place – or as I would call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all constitutional right, and in my opinion infringing on people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America or pulled this country – what the f**k?”
Tesla was slow to shutter its Freemont factory, waiting almost a week after the Bay Area ordered non-essential businesses to close before complying.
FREE AMERICA NOW— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
Musk went on to warn that the lockdown would cause great harm to Tesla and many other companies. But while larger firms like the EV maker could survive, many smaller businesses would not.
This wasn’t Musk’s first objection to the orders. He posted a series of tweets on Tuesday praising Texas for reopening businesses, calling for the government to give people their freedom back, and an all-caps “FREE AMERICA NOW” message, which has become his pinned tweet.
Hospitals in California have been half empty this whole time pic.twitter.com/8GL2BLypqV— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 30, 2020
Musk’s comments haven’t damaged Tesla’s share price, which was up 4 percent to $870.49 in after-hours trading.
Musk previously claimed there would be “close to zero new cases” of Covid-19 in the US by the end of April. Yesterday, there were 23,901 reported cases and 2,247 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 57,505—more than the total number of Americans who died in the Vietnam war, where fighting lasted more than a decade.
With lockdown protests taking place in many states, Facebook is now banning event listings that organize these rallies. The decision has brought criticism from several public figures and politicians who call it a violation of people’s right to freedom of speech.
Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash peoples free speech?— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 20, 2020
Regardless of what you think about the lockdowns or the protests against them, this is a chilling & disturbing government directed shutdown of peoples 1st Amendment rights. Very dangerous! https://t.co/rnG09TSVhI