Elon Musk Is Arguing About an Image of a Farting Unicorn

Artist says Tesla never paid him for using his creation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2018 3:35 AM CDT
Elon Musk Accused of Stiffing Farting Unicorn Artist
Elon Musk speaks at a news conference in Chicago earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Elon Musk has switched his attention from rooting out saboteurs to arguing on Twitter about the rights to an image of a farting unicorn. The saga began in February last year, when the Tesla CEO tweeted an image of one of Colorado potter Tom Edwards' mugs, featuring a unicorn farting electricity. The 61-year-old potter, who says he is a fan of Musk, was flattered and enjoyed extra sales because of the publicity. But he was dismayed when the company continued to use the image without compensating or even crediting him, the Guardian reports. A version of it was used to promote a Tesla sketch pad feature, appeared as an icon on the Tesla operating system, and was also used in a company Christmas card.

"I love the fact that it's in the cars, but I just want them to do the right thing and pay me adequately for it," Edwards tells the Guardian. Musk "can be a hero for standing up for artists' rights." After the potter's lawyer sent Tesla a letter seeking a "mutual decision" on the value of the image and local paper Westword reported on the issue, his daughter tweeted at Musk, and received a snarky response. "He can sue for money if he wants, but that's kinda lame. If anything, this attention increased his mug sales," the CEO tweeted, adding that Edwards made "thousands of dollars as a result." The potter, who estimates that he sold an extra 100 mugs because of the initial tweet, says he'd like to be on Musk's good side. "He's really really interesting," Edwards says. "But he isn't above copyright law." (More Elon Musk stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.