In the current climate, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) investors are facing several concerns. Vehicle sales are being buoyed by significant price reductions, the much-anticipated Cybertruck is expected to incur losses for a year, and there is a lack of clarity on the launch timeline for Tesla’s $25,000 entry-level car. Amidst these challenges, some investors are expressing unease about the absence of Tesla’s iconic CEO, Elon Musk, during trying times.
According to Ross Gerber, a vocal Tesla supporter and co-founder of GerberKawaski fund management, Musk seems conspicuously absent when the company needs leadership. Gerber criticizes Musk’s involvement in his personal project of owning the social media platform X, suggesting that it is adding to the woes of Tesla shareholders.
However, some of these posts have been taken down since.
Gerber stated on a CNBC interview, “None of his actions are for the benefit of Tesla at this moment; it’s all about Twitter. What he’s really doing is destroying everything he’s built, and that is the super frustrating thing as a shareholder.”
While Musk is expected to attend the Cybertruck delivery event on Nov. 30, an undisclosed health issue prevented him from participating in a crucial meeting with an official from Narendra Modi’s government to discuss a significant investment in India.
Adding to the concerns, Gerber expresses dissatisfaction with Musk’s political views, particularly his recent endorsement of an antisemitic post on X. Musk responded to a tweet making inflammatory claims about Jewish communities, stating, “the actual truth.” This has led to criticism from institutional investors like Gary Black, co-founder of the Future Fund, who wrote, “Elon Musk has to stop the anti-Semitic remarks before he damages the Tesla brand.”
Citron Research’s Andrew Left, who claims to be “a former Musk critic turned supporter and Tesla owner,” now says his perspective has shifted once again as Musk has now “abandoned truth and started promoting falsehoods about the Jewish community.”
“We need accountability, and I hope it comes soon. Take my car back; it is not as good as the BMW anyways,” he wrote.
Musk’s history of controversial statements includes his views on immigration and past involvement in anti-Semitic arguments. Despite the growing discontent among investors, Gerber believes Musk has already stepped aside as the CEO of Tesla. Gerber stated, “The truth is he already has stepped aside. He’s certainly not acting as the CEO of Tesla.”
Earlier this year, Gerber called out Tesla after its Q1 2023 production numbers came out, describing it as “a bit troubling.” Gerber pointed out that the carmaker “at some point might actually have to try to sell cars,” a reality he thinks the company has to face.
While Gerber does not plan to sell his Tesla stock, others are considering divesting due to Musk’s actions.
Which is the evil organization?
Musk faced swift criticism from tech executives, with at least one advertiser, IBM, withdrawing approximately $1 million in ad spending on the website for the remaining three months of the year. In a statement, IBM confirmed the reports, emphasizing that the company “has zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and we have immediately suspended all advertising on X while we investigate this entirely unacceptable situation.”
As a response, Musk called Media Matters, the organization that pointed out IBM ads are placed among antisemitic posts, an “evil organization.”
On Friday, the White House joined in the condemnation, expressing concern that Musk had endorsed “antisemitic and racist hate,” actions that run counter to “our core values as Americans.”
The Walt Disney Company has decided to halt its spending on X, as disclosed by a source with direct knowledge, a development previously reported by The New York Times. Additionally, two other media giants, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery, conveyed through representatives late Friday that they, too, were suspending their advertising on X.
In a parallel move, Apple is refraining from advertising on X, as confirmed by a source familiar with the matter, according to CNBC.
Additional condemnation of Musk’s statements came from various tech executives. Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, in a post on Threads, called for Musk’s resignation, while Wavelength co-founder Marc Bodnick expressed that “Elon’s antisemitism is still shocking.”
Despite the backlash, Musk has previously refuted claims of antisemitism, asserting that he is “aspirational Jewish.” His discord has, at times, seemed directed toward the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), whom he threatened to sue after the nonprofit organization documented an increase in hate speech on X since Musk’s acquisition.
Addressing the situation on Thursday afternoon, X CEO Linda Yaccarino stated, “X has been extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination.” She unequivocally stated, “There’s no place for it anywhere in the world — it’s ugly and wrong. Full stop.”
Most recently, Musk addressed the issue ambiguously, clarifying his stance that “anyone advocating the genocide of any group will be suspended from this platform.”
Information for this briefing was found via Fortune, Business Insider, NBC News, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.