Elon Musk posted a quote allegedly from the French philosopher Voltaire on Saturday in order to make fun of children who have leukemia. However, it has long been established that Voltaire never actually said the remark. The quote was really made in 1993 by a neo-Nazi.
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize,” the viral quote, shared by Musk, says.
The quote also includes text at the bottom making a joke about being unable to criticize “children with leukemia.”
Musk received criticism after sharing the quote on Saturday afternoon, with journalist and commentator Matt Yglesias tweeting, “When are we getting a fourteen words tweet?” The “fourteen words” refers to yet another white supremacist meme that’s popular among Nazis on Twitter which reads, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Critics of Musk took this opportunity to point out the issue and calling Musk out also. One person wrote,”Voltaire didn’t say or write this (or indeed anything like it). The quote is from American Nazi and child molester Kevin Strom.”
Another person wrote, “Looking forward to the community note that explains that this is not a quote from Voltaire but rather Kevin Strom, a white supremacist and Holocaust denier who pled guilty to possession of child pornography.”
Journalist Mehdi Hasan also took shots at the Tesla CEO, writing, “That’s a quote not from Voltaire but from a neo-Nazi Holocaust denier called Kevin Strom. Strom also pled guilty to possession of child pornography. That is who Musk is quoting, without a @CommunityNotes in sight (so far).”
Musk has faced backlash for making racist remarks in the past, but he consistently refutes all accusations of racism. Back in February, Musk defended cartoonist Scott Adams after the Dilbert creator published a video advocating for racial segregation. However, Musk claimed that the true racists were the publications that removed the Dilbert comic strip.