Fact Check

Did Elon Musk Say 'It's Time To Put Bill Gates in Prison'?

Published Oct. 27, 2023

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Image Via Getty Images
Claim:
Elon Musk suggested Bill Gates serve time in prison while speaking at an event titled "Billionaire Banter: The Future of Tech."

On Aug. 27, 2023, SpaceXMania published an article positing that Elon Musk had suggested Bill Gates be put in jail. They claimed that Musk made the jab at Gates while speaking to him directly at an event titled "Billionaire Banter: The Future of Tech." After a brief back and forth, Musk supposedly said: “Well, Bill, maybe it’s time you faced some real challenges. How about a stint in jail? I think orange would look great on you.”

The article began:

Elon Musk: “It’s Time To Put Bill Gates In Prison”

In an unexpected twist in the billionaire saga that has captivated audiences for years, Elon Musk, the audacious CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, recently made headlines by suggesting that tech magnate Bill Gates deserves some time behind bars. Was it over monopolizing the personal computer market? Or perhaps due to a disagreement on whose rockets are fancier? Well, as the details unfold, it’s evident that the stakes have never been this humorous.

While Gates and Musk have crossed paths in the past, after first meeting in March 2022, this interaction never happened and the details of the article are not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

Please note that the article under the category “SATIRE” are satirical in nature and are not meant to be taken seriously. These articles are meant to be humorous and are often entirely made up. We make no claim that the information presented in these articles is true or accurate.

Readers should exercise caution and use their own judgment when reading and interpreting our satirical articles. We take no responsibility for any actions taken based on the content of these articles.

On Oct. 27, SpaceXMania posted the article on their Facebook, and it quickly gained almost 6,000 likes at the time of this writing. "It’s time for both of you to go to prison," commented one user.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.

Sources

Elon Musk: ‘It’s Time To Put Bill Gates In Prison’. 27 Aug. 2023, https://spacexmania.com/elon-musk-its-time-to-put-bill-gates-in-prison12/.

Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/SpaceXElon/posts/pfbid0isrkNp8p3jiHkF94CTEePp8J7uY8gpZG9P4ASh2s9SS5yEuPhFc8jCGuzgtuivEel. Accessed 27 Oct. 2023.

Glader, Paul. ‘The Origin of Elon Musk’s Feud with Bill Gates, According to Musk’s New Biography | CNN Business’. CNN, 11 Sept. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/11/tech/elon-musk-bill-gates-isaacson-book/index.html.

Taija PerryCook is a Seattle-based journalist who previously worked for the PNW news site Crosscut and the Jordan Times in Amman.