SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Sometimes it feels like we’re living in Elon Musk’s reality.
The incessantly inventive and eccentric billionaire has agreed to acquire Twitter, giving him control of the social media network where the world argues, mobilises, and bickers.
It is Musk’s latest achievement after revolutionising the automobile industry, sending his own rocket to space, amassing the world’s largest wealth – and creating springs of moral indignation and celebrity gossip along the way.
Musk, 50, overtook Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person last year, thanks to the spectacular ascent of Tesla, his electric car company launched in 2003.
His takeover of Twitter is the culmination of a whirlwind of announcements and counter-announcements, which he often punctuated by gleefully launching punches at the firm on its own platform.
And Musk’s new identity as a social media tyrant will stoke debate over his political beliefs, business techniques, and outsized personality.
He is a libertarian, anti-woke, impulsive, and self-promotes as a defender of free speech. Some describe him as right-wing, while others accuse him of being authoritarian and abusive.
All of this comes in the same month that Musk made news by launching a “gigafactory” in Texas, after the firm departed California due to a disagreement over his efforts to disobey a state suspension of his plant to stem the spread of Covid-19.
And there’s more: his space transportation company, SpaceX, is now breaking new ground as a participant in a three-way collaboration that launched the first wholly commercial trip to the International Space Station.
Musk, on the other hand, creates less pleasant headlines: Tesla has been hit with a slew of lawsuits alleging discrimination and harassment against Black employees, as well as sexual harassment.
Along with the dizzying stream of corporate news, Musk’s predilection for following his own rules in the private sector keeps the globe wide-eyed.
It was recently revealed that Musk had a second kid with his on-again, off-again lover, singer Grimes: a girl called Exa Dark Siderael Musk, but her parents will primarily refer to her as Y.
He’s also likely to attend – in person or not – in the ongoing celebrity defamation lawsuit pitting Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard, who dated Musk in the past.
Musk has become one of the most visible people of the age in one form or another. So, how did he get to where he is now?