Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory posted to X.
Musk is now facing backlash from advertisers and investors.
We talked to Tesla owners, many of whom expressed frustration over Musk's behavior.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is under fire after he appeared to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
We sent some reporters and editors to charging stations in New York and California to ask Tesla drivers how they felt about his remarks. Several were hesitant to speak, but most who did expressed disapproval of Musk. Some said Musk's behavior would impact their decision to buy a Tesla in the future.
A male in his early 30s charging a Tesla Model 3 in New York City said he disagreed with Musk's recent posts on X criticizing the Anti-Defamation League and supporting an antisemitic tweet claiming Jewish communities push anti-white hatred.
"I do not agree with that. I do not agree with that," the driver repeated.
He declined to share his name but cautiously weighed in some more.
"I try to stay in my lane. This is my wife's car, but I'd think twice about buying another Tesla," he told Business Insider.
At the Del Monte shopping center in Monterey, California, a male in his 50's said he's been happy with his Tesla Model Y, but added that Musk's behavior is disappointing and ultimately hurting the brand.
"It's frustrating — can't he just shut up? I just want to drive my car. I don't want anyone to hate me because I'm driving a Tesla," he said.
A woman charging her Tesla at the Brooklyn Museum said she was not planning to renew her lease, or convert to buying, because of Elon Musk's behavior. She said she had felt that way for a year. She declined to share her name.
Rashed Mohammed, who was also charging at the Brooklyn location, said he has long been a fan of his Tesla and the EV brand. He said he had not heard of the controversy over Musk's recent X posts.
"I just like his car. I just like his company," Mohammed said. "He's just doing him. He bought Twitter by himself — he's just doing him. I don't really know much about him."
A Tesla Model 3 owner said Musk's behavior helps drive media attention to his companies.
"I just feel like he's an ordinary guy who's a billionaire. And yeah, I think he likes the controversy and the media attention. I don't think he seeks it out, but I just think he does appreciate it for his brand, his name, you know," he said.
At the Monterey, California, shopping center, the Tesla Model Y owner said Musk could impact his decision to buy another Tesla.
"I definitely don't agree with the comments and I don't know why he says them. It's definitely not good for him or the brand," he said. "Would it prevent me from buying in the future, well, if it was the last deciding factor, then yes."
A male in his 40's driving a Model S said he had not heard of Musk's most recent comments. After Business Insider filled him in on the controversy, he pinched his nose, closed his eyes, and sighed.
"He's a weirdo, I can tell you that," he said. "But he makes an affordable car that I've been happy with."
He said Musk could influence his car-buying decisions in the future.
"The car itself is great. Elon, no — I just — no," he said. "I guess it does feel separate to me. I enjoy his car, but I don't enjoy that. Nothing would surprise me coming out of his mouth."
Another Tesla owner at the charging station at the Brooklyn Museum said he was "hesitant" to buy a Tesla when shopping for a vehicle around a month ago because of his view of Musk, saying that he was "not someone I would want to have dinner with."
"My youngest son is 20 years old. He was always like 'I want an electric car, I want a Tesla.' But as he's gotten older, he's like, 'Hmm, I'm not so sure about that brand' — because of Elon Musk," he added.
Read the original article on Business Insider