Elon Musk says ‘arrest only ME’ after he defies lockdown, opens Tesla plant

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(Image: Roadshow/YouTube screenshot)

Elon Musk followed up on his lawsuit against a California county by defiantly opening his Tesla plant against coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Tesla CEO essentially dared California authorities to arrest him as he announced Monday that the plant in Fremont would be “restarting production today against Alameda County rules.”

(Image: YouTube screenshot)

Musk has been a vocal critic of the state’s lockdown orders aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus and has repeatedly taken to social media in the last weeks to call out what he sees as unconstitutional overreach by the government. Over the weekend, the automaker announced he would be filing a lawsuit against Alameda County, where the Tesla plant is located.

On Monday, Musk fired off a tweet announcing that the plant, which has been closed since March 23rd, was “restarting production” and that he would personally be on the production line with workers.

“If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he added.

Employees at the plant who were placed on furlough last month were called back in to work according to an email cited by The Verge.

In response to a question from one Twitter user, Musk contended that Tesla was being “singled out” since other U.S. auto companies “are approved to resume.”

The SpaceX CEO, who employs 20,000 people in California, cited  “unelected and ignorant” health officials in his decision days ago to file a lawsuit, having slammed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s draconian coronavirus orders as  “fascist” and unconstitutional.

Musk also threatened to move the Tesla headquarters out of the state.

Defying California’s shelter-in-place order, and the requirement that non-essential businesses remain shuttered for several more weeks, could see Musk facing fines of up to $1,000 a day or up to 90 days in jail for violations.

The state’s Democratic governor had indicated before Musk’s tweets that discussions with Alameda County were underway.

“My belief and hope and expectation is that as early as next week, they will be able to resume,” Newsom said. “I’m certainly encouraged by what I am hearing.”

(Image: Roadshow/YouTube screenshot)

Alameda County supervisor Scott Haggerty had mentioned a plan that was being discussed to allow Tesla to open on May 18.

“We were working on a lot of policies and procedures to help operate that plant and quite frankly, I think Tesla did a pretty good job, and that’s why I had it to the point where on May 18, Tesla would have opened,” Haggerty told The New York Times over the weekend. “I know Elon knew that. But he wanted it this week.”

Musk thanked Newsom in a tweet Monday afternoon after the governor praised him, perhaps in an attempt to ease tensions, saying that he had “great reverence” for Tesla and Musk and that he had spoken to the company founder “a number of days ago.”

The Alameda County Public Health Department indicated that it had given the Fremont factory a warning about reopening.

“We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health Order,” a letter read, adding “we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.”

San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who crassly tweeted, “F*ck Elon Musk” after his lawsuit announcement, continued her tirade against the entrepreneur.

Some Tesla employees who spoke to The Verge indicated they were afraid to heed the back-to-work orders, with one reportedly saying: “It’s either we feed our families or go hungry at this point.”

“I love my job personally, just tired of feeling like a chess piece,” another reportedly told the outlet, adding that “even though I love my job, I’m not willing to risk my health.”

Twitter users weighed in on Musk’s bold move to defy the California authorities.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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