Remember back on March 6 when Elon Musk tweeted “the coronavirus panic is dumb”? You’d think that he’d be eating his words right now, along with all the “nature is healing, we are the virus” influencers. But Musk never deleted the tweet. Instead, he’s carried right along with downplaying the severity of a virus that has now killed more than 230,000 people (and infected more than 3.2 million).
Bizarrely, Musk has also posted a few updates about the ventilators that Tesla has been donating to ICUs. But on Wednesday, the billionaire made it clear that he still thinks we’re taking this whole pandemic thing a little too seriously. First, there were a few bon mots like “Silicon Valley has become Sanctimonious Valley.” Then there were links to articles questioning the effectiveness of lockdowns, paired with exclamations like “Give people their freedom back!” And then there were replies to some of his 33.4 million followers’ replies. (Especially if they seemed to agree with his opinion that shelter-in-place orders are “fascist.”)
Around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Musk boiled down his sentiments into a single, three-word tweet—“FREE AMERICA NOW”—which he then pinned. More than 320,000 accounts have liked it, but one person in particular begged to disagree with Musk: Joan Grande, whose daugher Ariana Grande has called “the most badass, independent woman you’ll ever meet.”
There’s a reason that Joan has nearly 400,000 Twitter followers of her own. The 51-year-old is practiced at shutting down the unfortunate opinions of high-profile users, à la Piers Morgan. In other words, Musk’s all-caps declaration fit the bill perfectly. “How incredibly irresponsible of you…. and you think you are a person of science and technology… you’re a disgrace….,” Joan replied in an ellipses-filled tweet. “And now I have to get rid of my TESLAs… oh well…oh… and you clearly are not very smart! #BoycottTesla.” More than 24 hours later, that hashtag is still going strong.