Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk blasted coronavirus lockdowns during a Wednesday conference call with investors, saying they were a “serious risk” to the business but also expressing concern about the way they were impinging on people’s freedoms.
“It will cause great harm, not just to Tesla but to many companies,” Musk said. “And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many companies that will not. Everything people have worked for their whole life is being destroyed in real time.”
Musk said back in early March that panic about the virus was “dumb,” and his opinion has seemingly not changed as most states shut down and closed non-essential businesses.
“Frankly, I would call it forcible imprisoning of people in their homes against all of, their constitutional rights, in my opinion,” Musk said on the call. “It’s breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why they came to America or built this country. What the f—. Excuse me. Outrage. Outrage.”
“This is not freedom”
Musk had sharp words for the Democrat governors he holds responsible for the continued lockdowns.
“If somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great and they should be able to,” he said. “But to say they cannot leave their house and that they will be arrested if they do, that’s fascist. That is not democratic — this is not freedom. Give people back their god—- freedom.”
“FREE AMERICA NOW,” Musk tweeted the same day as the call.
FREE AMERICA NOW
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2020
Tesla making profits, seeing strong demand amid lockdowns
Telsa did not fare as badly as many others as lockdowns began, turning a surprise first-quarter profit even as some manufacturing plants had to shut down.
The UK Telegraph reported that demand for the company’s electric cars continued to be strong even as the global oil market saw record-low prices in April.
At one point, Musk had offered to use his plants to build ventilators to help with the treatment of serious coronavirus cases, but it was unclear whether he had actually done so or how many ventilators had been given to hospitals.
He also predicted that because China was reporting very few new cases as of March 19, that the U.S. would probably have “close to zero new cases by the end of April,” not taking into account that China reportedly stopped testing people around that time specifically to avoid having to report new cases.