New Delhi: Time magazine’s decision to make Tesla billionaire Elon Musk its person of the year for 2021 has been criticised because of his attitude to tax, opposition to unions and playing down the dangers of Covid-19, The Guardian reported.
Musk, who is also the founder and chief executive of space exploration company SpaceX, recently passed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as the world’s wealthiest person as the rising price of Tesla shares pushed his net worth to around $300 billion.
The accolade drew sharp criticism in the US where Musk is a controversial figure because of his attitude to tax, opposing a ‘billionaires tax’ floated by some, the report said.
The author Kurt Eichenwald said it was the “worst choice ever”.
“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 said.
Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the Time decision highlighted the need for the tax code to be reformed “so the person of the year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else”, the report said.
Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, said the announcement was a good time to remind people that he “illegally threatened to take away stock options if employees unionized”, an apparent reference to a 2019 National Labour Relations Board finding regarding a tweet in which Musk wrote: “why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing?”.
The magazine emphasised that its annual acknowledgment was not an award, but rather, “recognition of the person who had the most influence on the events of the year, for good or for ill”, The Guardian reported.