Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has had a fair share of enemies and has influenced several online detractors. However, this time it’s different. Musk is being trolled by a chimeric writer calling himself “Shepard Stewart,” according to Fortune. Musk is apparently fed up with this, and on Tuesday, he called upon his Twitter followers to uncover this troll.
Tesla CEO calls out the fake news troll
Musk attracts strong criticism and admiration for his industry-disrupting companies: Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX. Just last week, shareholders approved the $2 billion Tesla/SolarCity merger. Citing a Bloomberg report that details the work of the writer, Musk tweeted, “Can anyone uncover who is really writing these fake pieces?”
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— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2016
According to Bloomberg, the writer “Stewart” has written several vicious takedowns of Musk’s various companies. Stewart’s takedowns seem to have just one focus, which is the alleged misuse of government funds by his companies.
Titles of his pieces are “Elon Musk: Faux Free Marketeer and National Disgrace” (published in Liberty Conservative); “Here’s How Elon Musk Stole $5 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars” (Libertarian Republic); “Elon Musk Continues to Blow Up Taxpayer Money With Falcon 9” (The Federalist).
All these articles have been removed, but a brief Internet search of “Shepard Stewart” displays a cached profile image from The Federalist, says Fortune. Gavin Wax, editor-in-chief at Liberty Conservative, told Bloomberg that the image was likely a Photoshopped LinkedIn headshot of an ex-Twitter executive. Wax says the writer “Steward” went dark on them after they published him.
“Definitely a fake,” Wax said.
Many don’t like Musk
Brian Walsh, a partner the U.S.-based communications firm Rokk Solutions, told Bloomberg that it looks like a lot of people do not like Musk.
“Shepard Stewart” is only the tip of the iceberg, with Tesla’s CEO attracting more and more trolls and fake news, apparently encouraged by rivals not happy with his ability to win government funding and his successful and continuing disruption of their businesses, according to Bloomberg.
Tesla’s CEO attracts a large and varied number of veiled online attacks which include people who hide behind aliases, phony op-ed pieces, and websites with shadowy backers.
Tesla spokeswoman Sarah O’Brien says, “These are tools used by those who don’t have facts on their side.”
On Tuesday, Tesla shares closed up 3.6% at $191.17. Year to date, the stock is down more than 20%, while in the last six months, it is down more than 13%.