Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Wednesday called the lockdown meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic a “fascist” action and “an outrage” that infringes on personal freedom, AFP reported.
Musk called the stay-at-home orders in the United States an act of “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes” against all their constitutional rights. The confinement was breaking people’s freedoms in “ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America or built this country,” Musk said in a call with investors on Wednesday. “It’s an outrage.”
The lockdowns would cause “great, great harm but not just to Tesla but any company,” Musk said. “And while people will weather the storm there are many small companies that will not,” he added.
The businessman said people should be allowed to stay at home and not compelled to leave if they want. “But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”
The comments were followed by a series of tweets early on Wednesday, praising Texas for lifting some of the restrictions and complaining about the continuation of the lockdown elsewhere across the country. “Free America now,” Musk said in another tweet.
“Give people their freedom back,” the Tesla founder also tweeted on Wednesday. He added in another reply: “Yes, reopen with care and appropriate protection, but don’t put everyone under de facto house arrest.”
Musk’s comments were in contrast to those made by some of his counterparts in the Silicon Valley, who have urged caution on lifting the lockdown to contain the pandemic.
“I worry that reopening certain places too quickly, before infection rates have been reduced to very minimal levels, will almost guarantee future outbreaks and worsen longer-term health and economic outcomes,” Facebook Chairperson Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings call on Wednesday. Facebook has canceled in-person company events with 50 or more people through June next year.
Musk has downplayed the crisis brought on by the coronavirus in the past. On March 19, he said in a tweet that based on the trends at the time, there would “probably” be “close to zero new cases” in the United States “by end of April,” which hasn’t been the case.
Covid-19 has infected 31.92 lakh and caused 2.27 lakh deaths across 185 countries or regions, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.