Elon Musk Keeps Insisting Texas Shooter With Swastika Tattoo Is Not A White Supremacist

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday night, Elon Musk defended the spread of conspiracy theories about the deadly mass shooting in Texas earlier this month.

On May 9, the open source intelligence research group Bellingcat published a story with details about the shooter that indicated that he held white supremacist and neo-Nazi views. Bellingcat’s story included social media posts by Russian social network Odnoklassniki dating back to the shooter, including photos showing a large swastika tattoo and body armor featuring a RWDS (Right-wing Death Squad, a far-right slogan) patch. The Texas Department of Public Safety has also said that the shooter showed signs of neo-Nazi ideology, with one official saying he “had patches. He had tattoos”.

But on Twitter on May 9, Musk responded to a crude meme questioning details about the shooter, alleging that Bellingcat “literally specializes in psyops” and says that “this is either the weirdest story ever or a very bad psyop!”

He was asked about that tweet by CNBC’s David Faber in an interview Tuesday night. “I think it was incorrectly attributed to white supremacist action,” Musk said. “And the evidence of that was an obscure Russian website that no one has ever heard of and had no followers. And the company that found this was Bellingcat. And do you know what Bellingcat is? psychopaths. In his story, Bellingcat points out that he did not, in fact, discover the profile; his existence came first reported by The New York Times.

Musk added: “I’m saying that I thought chalking it up to white supremacy was silly. And that the information for that came from an obscure Russian website and Bellingcat, which is a company that does psyops, found it in some magical way.” The Bellingcat report describes how to find the profile by matching the accounts to the shooter’s date of birth. The account had posted photos of identification documents, including a speeding ticket and a boarding pass that included the shooter’s name.

Musk’s comments about the shooting were part of a growing series of messages echoing right-wing talking points. In the interview he also defended comments claiming Billionaire philanthropist George Soros, a frequent target of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, “hates humanity.” Last year he also shared a widely rejected conspiracy theory about the reasons for an attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. Later in the CNBC interview, he reiterated his denial that the shooter held white supremacist views:

Faber: By the way, there’s no evidence that it wasn’t. [a white supremacist]

Musk: I would say there is no proof that it is.

faber; And that’s a debate you want to participate in on Twitter?

musk: yes. Because we shouldn’t attribute things to white supremacy if it’s false.


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