Tesla owners like their cars. Elon Musk? Not as much

Earl and Lindsey Banning love, love, love their Tesla, a common sentiment among the Teslarati. Owners don’t tend to idle in neutral.

But when it comes to Tesla CEO, Space X commander, Twitter behemoth and wannabe overlord Elon Musk, the couplein Dayton, Ohio,diverges like a fork in the interstate.

“I find him deeply problematic,” says Lindsey, 46, a clinical psychologist. “He is an attention-seeking person.” Musk’s tweets, which seem to have revved into overdrive since he announced a $44 billion hostile takeover bid of Twitter in April, make her “uncomfortable and anxious.” If Musk succeeds in acquiring the social media platform, she says, “it’s going to be a less-safe space — not that it is now. Potentially, it’s going to get worse.”

Earl, also 46, an Air Force major and neuropsychologist who has been retweeted by Musk, is more accepting. “I see him as human, as a genius with flaws,” says Earl. “He’s lacking some empathy. He’s definitely chewed up some relationships along the way.”

The car is a marvel, owners rhapsodize. When it comes to the man, they have Muskgivings.

Tesla owners purchase the cars, and frequently the stock, because they care about the environment and adore the way they drive and look. But much of their passion has been complicated by Musk’s behavior and public musings.

Musk’s tweets and othercommentary are so frequent andso absent a filterthat to some of his nearly 96 million followers — though many may be bots — he has lost all ability to shock. Generating puerile and sexist tweets, offending the trans and nonbinary, deploying grossly inaccurate statements about the coronavirus. Trolling Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal with a poop emoji. Oh, and in 2018 engaging in securities fraud, resulting inMusk and Tesla each paying $20 million in penalties.

He exhausts patience and blots out the sun. He reigns over the Twittersphere once ruled by Trump, whom Musk has surpassed in followers. In April, Musk shared, and not for the first time, that half his tweets are created on the toilet. Musk did not respond to emailed requests for comment.

Disassociation abounds. Love the car, not the tweeter.

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