Media coverage of the Tesla CEO’s private life periodically eclipses that of his professional activities.
Elon Musk periodically faces choices and makes them. Perhaps the knottiest one is whether and when to focus on his positions as Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO and as a celebrity.
The man has more than 102 million followers on Twitter, and many of those millions stand ready to defend him at all times. Their admiration sometimes turns to adoration.
The Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO’s private life has become the subject of numerous press articles, to the point that the coverage eclipses his professional activities.
Most recently he has contributed to this dynamic by praising families on Twitter. In particular, he has expanded his own with the near-simultaneous arrival of three new children with two different women: his ex girlfriend, the singer Grimes, and Shivon Zilis, a senior. executive of Neuralink, his company specializing in artificial intelligence.
Photos of him shirtless on a yacht in Greece have also made tabloid headlines recently, sparking debates on social media about his physique. He (humorously) participated in the debate by commenting on his calves.
But indulging in the celebrity game can get one burned — even one who is considered a genius and visionary.
The Alleged Affair
The Wall Street Journal on July 24 reported, citing people familiar with the matter, that Musk had had an affair with Nicole Shanahan, the wife of Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Report.
The alleged affair, which took place in December, broke the friendship between Brin, 48, and Musk, 51, the newspaper reported.
Brin was one of Tesla’s supporters in 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. The alleged affair also is what prompted Brin to file for divorce last January, the article said. Brin also asked his team to sell all the assets he had in Musk’s businesses, TWSJ reported.
Musk denied the assertions.
“This is total bs,” Musk reacted on Twitter. “Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night! I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic.”
Besides a barrage of tweets to defend himself, Musk also gave an interview to The New York Post to refute the accusations. He even sent a photo of what Musk said was Brin and he partying on July 24, a few hours before the article was published.
“The character assassination attacks have reached a new level this year, but the articles are all nothing-burgers. I work crazy hours, so there just isn’t much time for shenanigans,” Musk also said. “None of the key people involved in these alleged wrongdoings were even interviewed!”
The tech tycoon went so far as to disclose information about his sexuality. TheStreet has chosen not to mention them here.
“We are confident in our sourcing, and we stand by our reporting,” a WSJ spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
‘Doing Useful Things’ for the World
Musk may have defended himself, but the damage has been done, as numerous posts on social networks show. And the billionaire surely has read them.
He also seems to have understood that for him, the moment to choose between his CEO post and his celebrity has come.
Just a few months ago Musk asked Jeff Bezos, his rival in the effort to conquer space, to choose between partying and devoting himself to the quest.
“Does seem like he’s spending a lot of time in the hot tub these days,” Musk said on May 27 when he was asked about Bezos. “If he wants to get to orbit, less partying and more work would be advisable.”
He seems to have decided to follow his own advice and again become the CEO who forced the auto industry to convert to electric vehicles and helped revive the idea that man would eventually live on Mars.
“The amount of attention on me has gone supernova, which super sucks,” the entrepreneur wrote on twitter on July 25. “Unfortunately, even trivial articles about me generate a lot of clicks.”
Then he continued: “Will try my best to be heads down focused on doing useful things for civilization.”
“I feel for ya! Ignore noise, build spaceships!” commented crypto billionaire Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the CEO of Binance.com, the world largest crypto exchange by volume.
“The best thing you can do honestly is to keep killing it at Tesla. Kill them with stellar performance and burn the shorts,” advised another fan.
“Good point, will do,” Musk replied.