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Elon Musk Says He Turned Down Bill Gates Philanthropy Over Tesla Short

  • Leaked screenshots of texts between Elon Musk and Bill Gates are real, according to Musk.
  • The texts show Musk turning down a philanthropic opportunity from Gates over the latter shorting Tesla.
  • “I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously,” Musk told Gates, per the texts.

Elon Musk on Friday said texts that show he turned down a philanthropic opportunity with Bill Gates over the latter’s short position on Tesla are legitimate.

Screenshots of the texts were shared on Twitter by an account called Whole Mars Catalog that tagged Musk and asked if they were real.

The origin of the screenshots was not immediately clear, though the color of the text message boxes suggests they were taken on Musk’s phone.

The first screenshot appears to show a text from Gates confirming a day and time to meet, to which Musk responds “Great.” Another screenshot shows a text, supposedly from Gates, saying “just landed” and Musk responding “cool.”

Musk then sent a follow up text, writing: “Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against Tesla?”

“Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out,” Gates responded, according to the screenshots, adding: “I would like to discuss philanthropy possibilities.”

Musk replied: “Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.”



A short position typically means an investor sells a stock they’ve borrowed with the goal of buying it back later at a lower price, essentially betting that the stock’s value will fall.

In response to the screenshots, Musk tweeted that they were real but that he did not leak them, adding they must have gotten out “through friends of friends.”

Musk added: “I heard from multiple people at TED that Gates still had half billion short against Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret.”

It was unclear when the text exchange took place, but Musk said on Joe Rogan’s podcast in February 2021 that he heard Gates was betting against Tesla in the stock market.

Shortly after commenting on the texts Friday night, Musk also tweeted a meme of Gates that compared the Microsoft founder to the pregnant man emoji and wrote: “in case u need to lose a boner fast.”


Musk and Gates, two of the world’s richest people, have openly feuded in the past, disagreeing over topics like electric vehicles, COVID-19, and colonizing Mars.

Tesla and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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