Opinion: Elon Musk’s big mistake on ‘SNL’

For “SNL,” like all long-running TV exhibits, it is all about rankings and relevancy. By Sunday afternoon, there have been greater than 3 million views of Musk’s monologue on YouTube and early rankings confirmed a big win on the viewers entrance.
For Musk, the obvious aim was to make himself likeable to those that know him solely because the Tesla and SpaceX founder who has been criticized for his controversial remarks. And when you watched his monologue in a vacuum, Musk did come throughout likeable and humorous. He additionally candidly acknowledged he had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum dysfunction that impacts language and communication expertise. (Though his claim that he was the primary particular person with Asperger’s to host was incorrect. Dan Aykroyd, a former “SNL” solid member who hosted the present in 2003, also has the syndrome.)

Musk even introduced his mom on stage to joke about his childhood. It was a dream for any PR particular person working to enhance Musk’s picture. However nowhere did Musk supply any regret for his significantly reviled statements over the past 13 months.

Essentially the most astounding half is that in the course of the present’s monologue, Musk truly had the right second to indicate he had the power required to apologize. Musk acknowledged mid-speech “Look, I do know I generally publish or say unusual issues, however that is simply how my mind works.”

Did he then be aware it was unsuitable to undermine the dangers posed by Covid or to voice his ridicule about utilizing the correct pronouns for folks within the transgender neighborhood — made worse when he defended himself by tweeting: “I completely assist trans, however all these pronouns are an esthetic nightmare? Nope. As an alternative, Musk appeared to make excuses for his remarks: “To anybody I’ve offended, I simply wished to say: I reinvented electrical vehicles and I am sending folks to Mars on a rocket ship.” He then added, “Did you assume I used to be additionally going to be a chill, regular dude?”
Musk missed one other alternative in a riff on folks being judged by the “dumbest issues” they’d ever achieved. Extremely, he thought his dumbest factor was to smoke weed on a podcast. Total, he appears to be telling us to simply accept his previous — and any presumably hurtful or irresponsible feedback he makes sooner or later — as a result of he is a profitable govt who helped ship folks into area. Actually? (Mockingly, one not-so-smart enterprise transfer could have been his reference to Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that he has touted up to now. Its worth dropped dramatically after he jokingly known as it a “hustle” in the course of the present.)
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This isn’t about demanding that “SNL” — or any comedy present — keep away from individuals who will entice media protection. Actually, to ensure that “SNL” to stay related after 46 years on air, it should courtroom some controversy. Earlier than Musk appeared on the present, I wrote for CNN that Musk did not deserve the “honor” of internet hosting this present, however I did not name for the present to disinvite him.
My hope was that Musk would use the present to acknowledge (even comically) that his irresponsible feedback and actions had a real-world adverse consequence on folks’s lives. For instance, it was not simply that Musk slammed Covid restrictions final yr as “fascist,” he reopened his Tesla facility in Fremont, California, in defiance of the state’s Covid pointers final Could. Greater than 400 staff there examined constructive for Covid over the subsequent seven months.
As well as, Musk’s feedback ridiculing the thought of utilizing the suitable pronouns for folks within the transgender neighborhood got here at a time that Republicans in state legislatures had been gearing as much as introduce payments curbing the rights of transgender folks throughout the nation.
The ache attributable to these legal guidelines has led some mother and father of transgender teenagers to move from GOP-controlled states due to the anti-trans surroundings these legal guidelines are fostering. Musk may simply have used “SNL” to make the apology requested by the Human Rights Campaign, a number one LGBTQ rights group, again in December.
The larger problem is that Musk, who boasts nearly 54 million Twitter followers and a faithful base of fans, is sending a message to this huge group of those who the sort of conduct is suitable in our society. Appallingly, “SNL” helped him ship that very message within the pursuit of rankings and relevance.

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