Who would have ever imagined that a drawing of a farting unicorn could become so controversial? Back in 2010, Tom Edwards released a new ceramic mug design of a unicorn farting and powering an electric car. On the mug are the words, “Electric cars are good for the environment because electricity comes from magic,” reported Market Watch.
Last year, Elon Musk tweeted that it was “Maybe my favorite mug ever.” And why not? Tesla is one of the most recognized models of electric cars. Musk’s tweet reportedly helped increase sales of the mug.
The trouble began, however, when Musk allegedly took the image and used it for a console app icon, and also used it on the 2017 Christmas cards.
In May, Edwards got his lawyers involved. The lawyers claim that Tesla’s use of the image is copyright infringement, and Edwards is seeking compensation.
However, Musk is not so easily convinced. He said that “We gained no financial benefit. Have asked my team to use a diff example going forward. He can sue for money if he wants, but that’s kinda lame. If anything, this attention increased his mug sales.”
On Thursday morning, Musk added on Twitter that “I offered to pay the guy who drew it twice already for something I don’t even want … I definitely care about artists getting compensated. It would be unfair not to do so.”
Earlier in the week, however, Edwards’ daughter put Musk on blast on Twitter, asking Grimes what she thinks of Musk stealing her dad’s art. However in response, Musk said that the drawing was credited instead to Nik Jovanovic, another artist. Lisa Prank only started the Twitter feud after Musk didn’t respond to her dad’s lawyers, says Vice.
Apparently after the series of tweets, Musk blocked Prank from his profile and also deleted all prior tweets about the unicorn.
Meanwhile, the artist is just hoping to be compensated “adequately,” according to the BBC. Edwards added that “Honestly, it’s all about integrity … I’d really like to get on Elon Musk’s good side… He’s really really interesting. But he isn’t above copyright law.”
The controversy has attracted some notable figures, including J.K Rowling. She retweeted an image of the mug and the headline “Elon Must drawn into farting unicorn dispute with potter,” and captioned it “The spinoff you never knew you wanted.”
Musk is often in the news for various issues surrounding his company. Recently, Musk offended Ford when he said that “I think there’s a good vibe — I think the energy is good; go to Ford, it looks like a morgue,” during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, detailed Business Insider.