Not everyone was amused by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s April Fool’s joke yesterday. The South African born and raised expat, who now lives in the USA, tweeted that his electric car company, Tesla, had gone bankrupt… “completely and totally bankrupt”.

Musk tweeted: “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt.

With the reference to Easter Eggs… and “you can’t believe it”, it was obvious it was an April Fool’s joke, BUT not everybody was laughing.

It’s been a pretty bad month for Tesla shares… actually it’s worst ever, with a drop of 22% and a loss of billions in market value. The poor performance of shares was exacerbated by the tragic death of a Model X driver (although Tesla said on Friday that a post-accident report shows the 38-year-old driver had in fact ignored several visual, and an audible, “hands-on” warnings).


Musk also jokingly tweeted that “Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks. This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!”

That tweet – with a picture showing Musk holding a ‘bankwupt’ sign – was shared over 82,000 times in less than 10 hours. (See below.)

While many on Twitter congratulated Musk for making fun of the Tesla doomsayers, others lambasted his tweets.

The Editor of The Street said: “CEOs of public companies shouldn’t be putting out tweets like this Elon. Let’s get real here, stay focused on what you need to be doing for shareholders.”

Fans jumped to Elon’s defence though with one saying: “Maybe focusing too much on shareholders is exactly the problem with most business today. If more companies encouraged the light hearted, passionate and motivated culture that made them successful in the first place they would inherently grow and thrive.

“In 6 years Tesla has managed to literally revolutionize the auto industry and cause the fastest surge forward in automotive technologies we’ve seen since the ICE was created. Stay in it for the long game and have/spread the faith. Bears bring companies down.”