Bill Gates has opened up about how Elon Musk confronted him over shorting $1.5 billion worth of Tesla stock.
Musk publicly mocked Gates on X back in 2022 over shorting the electric car company’s stock ‘while claiming to support climate change action’
In a biography of Musk set to be released this coming week, Walter Isaacson writes that in September of that year, Gates spoke to Musk and said he wanted to ‘come see [him] and talk about philanthropy and climate’ at a meeting.
The meeting happened at Musk’s Austin, Texas, plant, where the SpaceX owner confronted Gates over the decision to short Tesla stock. Gates apologized for the move, one that cost him $1.5 billion, but Musk was still upset and became ‘super mean’ to the Microsoft leader.
‘But he’s super mean to so many people, so you can’t take it too personally,’ Gates told Isaacson.
When Gates first requested the meeting, Musk responded by saying that he didn’t have a scheduler or a personal assistant, telling Gates to have his secretary call him directly.
Gates bypassed his secretary and set the meeting up for March 9, 2022.
Musk gave Gates a tour of his factory in Austin, which impressed Gates but still, the two had much to debate while he visited.
When Isaacson pressed Gates on why he shorted the stock, he simply thought he could make money by doing so, which Isaacson called ‘alien’ to Musk.
‘How can someone say they are passionate about fighting climate change and then do something that reduced the overall investment in the company doing the most?’ Gates asked Isaacson days after Gates’ visit.
‘It’s pure hypocrisy. Why make money on the failure of a sustainable energy car company?’
Grimes, Musk’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, called the incident ‘a little bit of a d**k-measuring contest.’
Gates was also critical of Musk’s belief that solar energy could solve climate change and that batteries could ever power semi-trucks.
‘I showed him the numbers,’ Gates said, according to CNBC. ‘It’s an area where I clearly knew something that he didn’t.’
Gates also spoke derisively of Musk’s attempt to colonize Mars.
‘I’m not a Mars person,’ Gates told Isaacson. ‘He’s overboard on Mars. I let him explain his Mars thinking to me, which is kind of bizarre thinking.
It’s this crazy thing where maybe there’s a nuclear war on Earth and so the people on Mars are there and they’ll come back down and, you know, be alive after we all kill each other.’
Previously, Musk dissed Gates’ physique on Twitter posting a photo of the Microsoft mogul alongside Apple’s controversial pregnant man emoji ‘in case you need to kill a boner.’
Gates, the world’s third richest man after Musk and Jeff Bezos, took a shot earlier this year at the Tesla CEO after the electric vehicle maker announced taking a $1.5 billion stake in Bitcoin. ’Elon has tons of money and he’s very sophisticated, so I don’t worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down,’ Gates told Bloomberg.
‘I do think people get bought into these manias who may not have as much money to spare, so I’m not bullish on Bitcoin. My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out,’ he said.
Gates has also previously made comments about electric trucks like the Tesla Semi not being viable, which Musk countered.
In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, Musk said he believes that the Microsoft founder had a big short position on Tesla stocks at one point.
‘I heard that at one point he had a large short position. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it seems weird,’ Musk told Rogan.
‘People I know who know the situation pretty well, I asked them ‘Are you sure?’ and they said ‘Yes, he has a huge short position on Tesla.’ That didn’t work out too well.’
The book by Isaacson, set for release Tuesday, features several revelations about Musk.