In a revealing account, billionaire Bill Gates admitted to author Walter Isaacson that his relationship with Elon Musk turned sour after Musk learned of Gates’ short position on Tesla stock. Isaacson, who has spent the past three years working on a biography of Musk, revealed this episode in an excerpt from the upcoming book.
According to a report by Fortune, Gates shared with Isaacson: “Once he heard I’d shorted the stock, he was super mean to me, but he’s super mean to so many people, so you can’t take it too personally.”
Things took a turn for the worse in April 2022 when Musk declined a philanthropic proposal from Gates, attributing the rejection to the latter’s bet against Tesla. In a revealing text exchange between the two magnates, Musk questioned Gates if he still held a “half billion dollar short position against Tesla.” Gates replied, “Sorry to say I haven’t closed it yet,” but then attempted to steer the conversation towards “philanthropy possibilities.”
However, Musk wasn’t having it. He fired back, emphasizing his disbelief at Gates’ audacity, “I can’t take your request seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.”
Just so that the public understands:— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2023
Taking out a short position against Tesla, as Gates did, results in the highest return only if a company goes bankrupt!
Gates placed a massive bet on Tesla dying when our company was at one of its weakest moments several years ago. Such a…
Though Gates mentioned that he apologized to Musk for the situation, it seems that their relationship remains strained. Musk didn’t stop at just rejecting Gates’ proposal. He took to social media to share a meme mocking Gates’ physique. However, he later decided to move past the issue publicly.
Musk also took the time to educate the public about the implications of Gates’ move. He stated, “Taking out a short position against Tesla, as Gates did, results in the highest return only if a company goes bankrupt! Gates placed a massive bet on Tesla dying when our company was at one of its weakest moments several years ago. Such a big short position also drives the stock down for everyday investors.”
Musk didn’t mince words about Gates’ apparent contradiction. He pointed out, “The lack of self-awareness and hypocrisy of Gates, who had the nerve to ask me to donate to his mostly window-dressing environmental causes, while simultaneously aiming to make $500M from Tesla’s demise, boggles the mind …”
In a further twist, Elon Musk threw shade at Gates’ connection to Epstein Island by suggesting in a cryptic manner, “Someone in an interview should ask – just hypothetically – which island in the Caribbean is his favorite.”
It’s the one with the funny domed building. pic.twitter.com/7QhEd0x9x9— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 12, 2023
The unfolding of this feud provides an intriguing look into the world of two of the most influential tech magnates of our times. Whether they will ever reconcile remains to be seen.