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Liberal tech journalist: Elon Musk called me an ‘a–hole’ in an email

Liberal tech journalist Kara Swisher revealed in a recent episode of her podcast that she’s on the outs with Twitter owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk after he allegedly emailed her and called her an “a—hole.” 

As Swisher told it, the world’s richest man did not appreciate the reporter’s tweets about his dealings with Ukraine regarding the use of his “Starlink” satellite network, though Swisher maintained her tweets were supportive of Musk.

Swisher recounted the incident during the latest episode of her podcast “On With Kara Swisher,” where she spoke to co-host Nayeema Raza about her history of covering Musk for years as part of her tech beat. 

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She remarked that they’ve corresponded much over the years, and characterized the nature of their relationship, saying, “I call ‘em as I see ‘em. I’ll support him when he’s doing great things, and I will tell him when he’s being an a—hole.” 

She added, “I’m gonna tell him what I think. I always have and if he doesn’t like it, whatever sir, you don’t have to listen, but I’m telling you the truth.”

However, she mentioned she’s been very supportive of Musk throughout his career and their correspondence.

Swisher stated that recently she and Musk are not on speaking terms. Raza asked how their relationship is at the moment, and the reporter revealed, “He’s not speaking to me.” Raza probed, saying, “One word to describe it,” and Swisher replied, “I’m an a—hole.”

She elaborated: “He emailed me this recently.” When asked to talk about this exchange, the reporter said, “You know, before this, I had asked him for an interview for ‘On,’ and we had a great back and forth about what should be done at Twitter and I was explaining what we had done with Twitter Spaces and he said ‘I love your thoughts.’” 

Swisher mentioned how Musk expressed interest in being interviewed after dust settled from his Twitter deal, though her subsequent tweets about Musk’s recent dealings with Ukraine annoyed the billionaire. 

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She explained, “And then I tweeted something that he didn’t like. I tweeted this Washington Post article which cited an anonymous U.S. defense official talking about Starlink. The official said, ‘Elon’s gonna Elon,’ and I wrote on Twitter, ‘Elon’s gonna Elon kinda says it all.”

At the time, Musk was taking heat for floating the notion that he should receive financial help for supplying free internet to the Ukraine war effort against Russia with his Starlink satellites. As Swisher recounted it, Elon allegedly thought Swisher was dismissive of his request.

Though Swisher maintained she was ultimately supportive of the idea that Musk get paid. She said, “But I didn’t agree with this defense official, I think they should pay Elon, and I said that. And so the next couple of tweets was like, ‘I think he should be paid, he does have them over the barrel and can say what he wants,’ ‘cause I think it was Defense Department’s problem.”

Still, the angry email came from Musk. As Raza said, “And then on October 17th at 9:45 PM Eastern, you get an email from Elon.” Swisher added, “Yeah, late. It’s always late. I was up at night having chocolate sandwiches, I don’t know what’s happening.”

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Raza asked, “And the subject says?” The reporter replied, “It just says, ‘You’re an a—hole.’”

She added, “The screenshot was there and – which is fine. In this case I was supporting him, which is really kind of ironic.”

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