Elon Musk says forcing people to stay at home is "fascist"
Slamming restrictions imposed on people's movements in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that telling people that they cannot leave their home is "fascist". Musk has been a fierce critic of COVID-19 restrictions from the very beginning of the outbreak. At one point he even called the coronavirus panic "dumb".
The latest rant against the restrictions came during Tesla's Q1 2020 earning call on Wednesday. While answering questions from analysts, Musk said "this is the time to think about the future and also to ask, is it right to infringe upon people's rights, as what is happening right now."
"I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry, because somebody should really -- if somebody wants to stay in their house, that's great. They should be allowed to stay in the house, and they should not be compelled to leave," the Tesla CEO said.
"But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. People back they've gotten their freedom," he added. Tesla posted surprise profit of $16 million in the first quarter of 2020 despite temporary disruptions in productions due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Answering questions on the company's liquidity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Musk said that he was worried about not being able to resume production in its factory in Fremont, California. "I should say we are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk. We only have two car factories right now, one in Shanghai and one in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area produces the vast majority of our cars, all of S and X, and most of the 3 and all of the Y," he said
He said that "forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional alliance" is "horrible and wrong". Musk said that while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not.
While the Bay Area's orders require non-essential businesses to stay shut and also ban many other activities, such as large public gatherings, they do not say that people cannot leave their house, CNBC reported.
*Edited from an IANS report