Elon Musk is facing backlash across social media after the announcement that he will be hosting NBC comedy sketch show, Saturday Night Live.
The announcement that Elon Musk would be hosting SNL came over the weekend, with the episode set to air on May 8.
Musk is infamous for his eclectic and controversial remarks. In particular, his downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic and his bizarre Twitter rants have been heavily criticised. Azealia, we see you.
In a 2020 tweet, he literally stated that “the coronavirus is dumb”. Musk has also spoken out against national stay-at-home orders, comparing them in another tweet to a “de facto house arrest”. However, Musk is now saying that he supports “vaccines in general and covid vaccines specifically”.
But it doesn’t end there. Musk has also come under fire for a foreboding Twitter missive in which he threatened to revoke stock options for Tesla employees if they moved to unionise. He also carelessly said that a “bunch of people will probably die” during his forthcoming Mars mission.
The coronavirus panic is dumb
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2020
“To be clear, I do support vaccines in general & covid vaccines specifically. The science is unequivocal. In very rare cases, there is an allergic reaction, but this is easily addressed with an EpiPen.”
The recent scepticism within SNL has come from the notion that including certain people as hosts ultimately supports them.
SNL cast member, Nora Dunn, discussing controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay’s hosting of the show in 2015, explained that cast members “didn’t examine the hosts of SNL. We supported them, we wrote for them, we made them look good. Otherwise you’d never get a host. You’re there to make them look good.”
Musk is the first non-actor or athlete to host the show since Donald Trump’s widely disputed appearance in 2015. Trump’s appearance came shortly before his presidential run, and shortly after his remarks accusing Mexican immigrants of being “criminals and rapists”.
Protests over Elon Musk’s casting has come from numerous SNL staff members.
Shortly after the announcement, Musk posted a confusing tweet: “let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is.”
Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is 😈
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2021
One cast member, Bowen Yang, responded with the comment “what the f- does that even mean?”, after posting an angry emoji.
Another cast member, Andrew Dismukes, posted an Instagram photo of Cheri Oteri with the caption “only CEO i want to do a sketch with is Cheri Oteri”, another stab at the Tesla CEO.
Cast member Aidy Bryant was a little more subtle, sharing a tweet on Instagram from former presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders which stated that “the 50 wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than some 165 million Americans” and he called that “a moral obscenity.” It was later shared by another writer of SNL.
Press retweet if you want to see an Elon Musk Dogecoin skit with Miley Cyrus on SNL 😂👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/ywGP5WjeU3
— Matt Wallace ⚠️ (@MattWallace888) April 25, 2021
Musk is the second richest person in the country, boasting a net worth of approximately $179.4 billion (AUD 231,708,016,800).
Despite the controversy, CNN believes it to be “another contentious pick in the long history of one of America’s most storied comedic institutions. And likely one that may get people who normally don’t watch the show to tune in.”
Yang, Bryant and Dismukes’ social-media jabs have since been deleted.