Over a series of Instagram stories from the weekend, Banks (whose account should be taken with an entire salt shaker — more on that later) reported from the belly of the beast (which in this case is one of Elon Musk’s Los Angeles homes).
Banks, who claims she was invited to Elon’s demesne at the behest of Musk’s partner, the musician Grimes, to collaborate on music, wound up being a witness to what she claimed was a drug-induced financing tweet and a weekend of dealing with its repercussions.
At this point, yes, of course we reached out for comment. A spokesperson for Musk responded to a request for comment in an email, writing, “With regard to your question about drug use, as a spokesman for Elon this is ‘total nonsense’ – additionally, ‘Elon has never even met Ms. Banks or communicated with her in any way’.”
A close reading of Banks’ account paints the picture that she was left alone in the house and only overheard frantic phone calls as Musk scrambled to shore up the funding he had claimed was “secured” in a tweet from last week.
Banks did not respond to a direct message requesting comment.
As soon as Musk tweeted his infamous tweet claiming Tesla had secured financing last week, there was instant speculation about whether it was Saudi money, Softbank money…or maybe no money. The theories were that either he had pulled off a coup or Musk was chasing the recent SpaceX successes with some speculative (shaky) fiction about Tesla’s outcomes.
Indeed, the “clarification” that Musk issued today does not make the financing picture any more solid, nor, experts say, would it absolve Musk from potential problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The financial regulator remains highly interested in Musk’s confirmation fo funding and whether or not it is more than just a pipe dream more befitting a confabulation from Timothy Leary.
There is, however, the matter of Banks’ credibility. While other sites have confirmed that she was at Musk’s house, the notorious shit-stirrer is… well… a notorious stirrer of shit. She’s picked fights with celebrities from Beyonce to cast members of RuPaul’s drag race and remains a controversial figure.
Indeed, Gizmodo is reporting that Musk (reached via DM) said he never met Banks.
… when reached via Twitter direct messages, Musk told Gizmodo that he “has never even met [Banks] or communicated with her in any way.” In other words, he doesn’t know her.
That said, this feels… insane as it may be… of a piece with the arc of Tesla’s recent story (and the founder to which, as of now, it is inextricably tied). The company makes very real, and very beloved cars that could have a major impact on renewable energy for all — while simultaneously riding the waves of controversy kicked up by its founder CEO like a battery powered toy boat.
All things could be true. The Saudis could come in to save Musk and Tesla (although today’s statement from Musk indicates nothing so solid as a deal on the table) and he could also be Howard Hughes-ing it in one of his Los Angeles estates.
Musk has already shown us that he’s brilliant, but his erratic behavior recently (from random tweets, to errant earnings calls) may be a sign that he is also — at least for now — out of whatever stands in for balance when it comes to high-functioning futurists. And he certainly hasn’t done himself any favors regarding his credibility by trying to paint reasonable journalism and journalists as purveyors of “fake news”.
As of now, I’m #teamnoone and all of this sucks.