It looks as though Russ Mitchell over at the LA Times may have uncovered the true motivation behind Elon Musk donating ventilators to help with the Covid-19 crisis.
Today Mitchell dropped a bomb on Twitter when he informed Elon Musk (and the world) that he was told that Tesla's delivery of the machines was contingent upon employees posing for thank you shots on social media.
And, even better, Mitchell said one of the sources he spoke to declined the ventilators as a result.
@elonmusk Employees at two hospitals told me your delivery of Bipaps was contingent on their posing for thank you shots to be posted on social media. One declined, one accepted. Was there ever such quid pro quo? I’d ask Tesla’s press office but it no longer exists.— Russ Mitchell (@russ1mitchell) April 16, 2020
This follows our report this morning of Elon Musk's Twitter spat with CNN, who published a story claiming that “none of the promised ventilators have been received by hospitals,” citing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.
Musk responded by tweeting, “What I find most surprising is that CNN still exists.”
Now it looks like we may know why some of these ventilators didn't reach their final destination. And did we say ventilators? Forgive us. They weren't actually ventilators, they were sleep apnea machines, as we documented in a previous report, but that's besides the point.
And now, what looks like a once-empty gestured PR grab from Musk - a specialty from his playbook that he has used in Flint, with the Hyperloop and famously with the Thai cave rescue - has spectacularly backfired.
As one social media user wryly commented: "Tesla doesn't pay for advertising: it extorts it."
This story is developing. We will update it as more information becomes available...