Story at a glance

  • Time magazine named Elon Musk the 2021 Person of the Year.
  • Time cited Musk being dubbed the richest man in the world, his endeavors with SpaceX, and his environmental work through Tesla and SolarCity.
  • People on social media were quick to criticize the choice, citing Musk’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic and paying low taxes.

Time magazine has faced backlash on social media after revealing its Person of the Year for 2021: Elon Musk.

Announcing its choice, Time cited Musk being dubbed the richest man in the world, his endeavors with SpaceX, as well as his environmental work through Tesla and SolarCity.

“This is the man who aspires to save our planet and get us a new one to inhabit: clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and 'Watchmen’s' Doctor Manhattan, the brooding, blue-skinned man-god who invents electric cars and moves to Mars,” Time wrote.


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However, people on social media were quick to criticize the choice. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) wrote on Twitter, “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else,” echoing a 2021 report by ProPublica on Musk and other leagues of the world’s wealthiest people paying low tax rates.

Author Kurt Eichenwald cited Musk’s downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic and treatment of Tesla’s workers. “I held back on saying much about Time selecting Elon Musk as person of the year until I read their reasoning. In a year when the developers of the mRNA vaccines have saved millions and helped restore global economies, the selection of Musk this year may be the worst choice ever,” Eichenwald wrote.

On his end, Musk responded to the announcement of his appointment with a simple, “Thank you!”

Time’s Person of the Year for 2020 was both President Biden and Vice President Harris.


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Published on Dec 14, 2021