The billionaire genius may well be saving the world through his electric vehicle (EV) company and he night help mankind one day live on Mars, but he’s not always a kind man.
Musk, who has talked openly about growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome — a form of autism that can make it difficult to relate to others — has sometimes shown as an adult that he’s not great at getting along with people he may disagree with.
This has led to many public fights on Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report, a social media platform he’s trying to buy, and has put him at odds with a number of celebrities and business leaders. Now, Musk has engaged in a very high-profile fight with Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report Founder Bill Gates.
What Went Wrong Between Gates and Musk?
The two billionaires had been planning to meet to discuss working together on philanthropic efforts and had been texting as to when Gates might arrive. The conversation then took a major turn for the negative when Musk inquired about Gates holding a $500 million short position against Tesla.
“Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla the company doing the most to solve climate change,” Musk apparently texted to Gates, who has not confirmed the exchange (but it has been widely reported on).
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That put an end to their meeting of the two billionaires and became a bit of a media scandal, but the two men had very different responses in the aftermath. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, Musk went low and Gates went high.
How Did Musk and Gates Follow Their Fight?
Musk really does not like when people short Tesla. He showed his disdain for Gates not just through his text, but with his follow-up tweet. The billionaire CEO of multiple companies, who has both rocket ships and equipment that can tunnel under the Earth under his command, shared an unflattering picture of Gates side-by-side with a pregnant man emoji.
He then said (in a more coarse way) that Gates’ image would serve as a way for a man to become unaroused quickly.
It was a cheap shot based not on Gates’ actions (and aside from his Tesla short, Gates has lots of rumored recent actions that might be legitimate cause for Musk to poke fun at) but his physical appearance. Musk, for example, might have reminded people that Gates had multiple meetings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein or noted that Gates had at least some hand in bringing the world, Clippy, Zune, and Microsoft Bob.
While Musk was taking his grade-school shots at Gates, the one-time Microsoft CEO and current philanthropist opted for a more positive Tweet.
Gates has not responded to Musk’s tweet or commented on their scuttled meeting. He did acknowledge holding that Tesla short position in his text exchange with Musk.