Saturday Night Drive-By: Citing Anonymous Sources, WSJ Smears Musk As Drug Abuser

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jan 07, 2024 - 05:15 PM

The Wall Street Journal fired some serious shots at Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Saturday night, dropping a lengthy hit piece accusing him of illegal drug use to an extent that has worried executives and board members while potentially jeopardizing Musk's various federal government contracts.

The article relies heavily on anonymous sources, described, for example," as "people who have witnessed his drug use and others with knowledge of it." Here are two of the more potent paragraphs:  

The world’s wealthiest person has used LSD, cocaine, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms, often at private parties around the world, where attendees sign nondisclosure agreements or give up their phones to enter, according to people who have witnessed his drug use and others with knowledge of it.


In 2018... he took multiple tabs of acid at a party he hosted in Los Angeles. The next year he partied on magic mushrooms at an event in Mexico. In 2021, he took ketamine recreationally with his brother, Kimbal Musk, in Miami at a house party during Art Basel. He has taken illegal drugs with current SpaceX and former Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson.

Many of the article's accounts go back a few years or more, and there are no specific descriptions of where or when Musk supposedly used cocaine or ecstasy. As for ketamine, the 52-year-old has previously said he's been prescribed the drug for depression, and last year tweeted that it was a better avenue than antidepressants that are "zombifying" patients. In 2018, he famously shared some cannabis on Joe Rogan's show.

Musk's lawyer told the Journal that Musk is "regularly and randomly drug tested at SpaceX and has never failed a test," and said there were "other false facts" in the quasi-exposé, but didn't specify what they are. The lawyer didn't respond to the Journal's query about which drugs are screened for in the tests. 

The Journal says former Tesla director Linda Johnson Rice was so fed up with Musk's unpredictable behavior and worries about drug use that she opted out of pursuing re-election in 2019. Here again, it's not Rice telling the Journal that, but "people familiar with the matter."  

Among the purportedly concerning anecdotes outlined in the story is a 2017 SpaceX all-hands meeting to discuss the firm's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) prototype. According to the Journal, Musk showed up an hour late, only to slur his words in a rambling speech in which he repeatedly called the product the "Big Fucking Rocket." SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell was said to have intervened and taken charge of the session, with executives later quietly speculating that Musk was on drugs. An unidentified witness described his performance as "nonsensical," "unhinged," and "cringeworthy." 

In another speculation-centric element of the Journal story, Tesla board members were said to have worried that Musk was on drugs in 2018 when he took to Twitter and said he planned to take the firm private and had "funding secured." That market-moving tweet put Musk in hot water with the SEC, which alleged he'd misled investors. Some of the worried board members considered pushing Musk to take a leave of absence, according to "people familiar with the discussions."

The Journal's Emily Glazer and Kirsten Grind seemed bent on putting Musk's business in danger. They note that, in addition to potentially violating his own companies' policies, drug use of the types alleged in the story could imperil Musk's dealings with the federal government, including $14 billion in SpaceX business. Regardless of more permissive state laws, federal contracts require compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act.

In addition to drug testing, the law requires that firms publish a statement "notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the person's workplace." Contractors must also inform employees that compliance with that statement is a condition of employment. Drug use can also lead to the cancellation of security clearances. 

Musk hit back at WSJ: 

"After that one puff with Rogan, I agreed, at NASA’s request, to do 3 years of random drug testing. Not even trace quantities were found of any drugs or alcohol. @WSJ is not fit to line a parrot cage for bird 💩 7." 

Let's not forget that Musk's social media platform X is an attempt to fracture corporate media. So, of course, it's only in the best interest of legacy media to churn out hit piece after hit piece on the billionaire. 


It's worth highlighting that the 1988 law's scope is focused on the "workplace." With Musk a notorious, globe-trotting workaholic, defining his workplaces could be a challenging lawyerly endeavor. 

Multiple federal agencies have already been weaponized against Musk, and now one of the establishment's leading newspapers has piled on with its own shot. At year-end, we reported that Musk had regained the title of "world's richest person," suggesting it could render him "too big to cancel" -- but they're clearly not going to stop trying.  

Legacy media's smear campaign didn't stop with Musk. 

Last Thursday, Business Insider targeted hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman's wife, Neri Oxman. The report noted she plagiarized multiple paragraphs of her 2010 doctoral dissertation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This comes directly after Ackman's war on 'woke' Harvard University resulted in the ousting of Claudine Gay, former president of the school, over plagiarism.

These smear campaigns are becoming very noticeable to the untrained eye - or the average American - suggesting a diminishing impact on discrediting individuals' credibility and reputation by legacy media. Therefore, it seems likely that the era of canceling folks by corporate media and elites is in decline.