Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on an emotional rant Wednesday against stay-at-home orders from local governments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying they are “forcibly imprisoning people” while also doing huge damage to the US economy. He called the orders “fascist.”

“Yeah. I should say we are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk. We only have two car factories right now, one in Shanghai and one in the Bay Area, and the Bay Area produces the vast majority of our cars, all of S and X, and most of the 3 and all of the Y,” Musk told Wall Street analysts in a coference call.

Then he erupted.

“So the extension of the shelter in place or, frankly, I would call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights, that in my opinion, and breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong is not why people came to America or built this country, what the [bleep]? Excuse me. But outrage – it’s an outrage.

“So – but it will cause great harm, not just to Tesla, but to many companies. And while Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not. And all peoples – everything people have worked for their whole life is going to get — is being destroyed in real time.

“And we’re going to have many suppliers – or have many suppliers that are having super hard times, especially the small ones, and it’s causing a lot of strife to a lot of people. Yes.”


Following another question, Musk said he sees a strong demand for infrastructure investments in the US but then returned to the stay-at-home orders.

“So this is the time to think about the future and also to ask, is it right to infringe upon people’s rights, as what is happening right now. I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry, because somebody should really – if somebody wants to stay in their house, that’s great,” he said.

“They should be allowed to stay in the house, and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house, and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist.

“This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their [bleep] freedom.”

Read the full transcript online.

Listen to the call via this link from Tesla.

Tesla’s earnings

Tesla reported that it eked out a first-quarter net profit Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

The electric car and solar panel company said it made $16 million from January through March, its third-straight profitable quarter.

Shares of Tesla leaped nearly 9% in extended trading Wednesday after the results were released. Tesla stock has more than doubled in value so far this year.

Excluding one-time items, Tesla learned $1.24 per share. That easily beat Wall Street estimates of a 28-cent-per-share loss, according to FactSet.

Revenue for the quarter was up 32% to $5.55 billion, but it still missed Wall Street expectations. The increase was aided by $354 million from sales of electric vehicle credits to other automakers so they can meet government regulations. That’s a 63% increase from a year ago.