Elon Musk Raises His Game of Corporate “Shock and Awe” Daring Naysayers to Puncture His Teflon
Earlier this year, the CEO of the Chicago Mariners was fired for comments in a local Rotary Club speech on the weak English of a Japanese pitcher on his team. No, he neither impersonated nor mimicked the player.
The unmarried CEO of McDonald’s was fired for having a consensual relationship with an employee. Fun fact: 22% of married couples in the U.S. met at work.
In the past year or so Elon Musk:
1. Lied on social media about an LBO that was purportedly going to take Tesla private. He was fined $20 million and remains active on social media.
2. Sold dangerous flamethrowers to the public (remember, they are a car company.)
3. Publicly smoked marijuana on the Joe Rogan Show when it was illegal to smoke in the building and against policy for employees of government contractors such as the other company he helms, SpaceX.
4. Insinuated on social media that one of the divers that saved the lives of 11 children in a cave in Thailand was a pedophile.
In the age of zero tolerance cancel culture, the above list (which is barely the greatest hits of Elon’s antics) proves that he can pretty much do whatever he wants.
For most CEOs, any of the above actions would likely get them fired, and in order to avoid eternal damnation, require them to write a resignation letter containing language like this:
“I am stepping down as xxx of zzz to reflect on the work I need to do as a human being and to allow zzz to get to a better place.”
The above quote was from the former editor of Bon Appetit who resigned over a 16-year-old Halloween photo of himself wearing a Yankees shirt, a baseball cap, and a chain medallion. He was accused of Puerto Rican cultural appropriation.
Apologies, but you could put a gun to my head and I could not tell you what he was trying to dress as — beyond a fan at a baseball game.
So does founder + genius + creativity + high stock price = thickness of Teflon coating?
Perhaps certain CEOs are viewed as indispensable.