Tulsa residents furious at Elon Musk’s giant statue

In a dystopian bid to lure Tesla’s Cybertruck Gigafactory to Tulsa, the Oklahoma state monument—a seven-story, 22-ton statue of an oil worker called The Golden Driller—has been redesigned as an effigy of Elon Musk. The likeness of X Æ A-12’s multibillionaire father, now called The Driller ‘Golden Elon,’ is one of the largest free-standing statues in the U.S. 

“Tulsa is a city that doesn’t stifle entrepreneurs – we revere them!” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum wrote on Facebook, prompting an onslaught of enraged replies. “Golden @elonmusk is now the 6th-tallest statue in the United States. #TulsaforTesla @Tesla.” 

The gargantuan statue, unveiled earlier this week at a community event and on Bynum’s social media, now features a red Tesla logo painted on its chest. The Driller’s 48-foot belt, which once read “TULSA,” was changed to read “TESLA.” If you squint, the statue’s head now looks like a low-budget YouTube cartoon of Musk. “I was told onsite it was an ‘Elon Musk Face Skin,’” one worker wrote on Facebook. “It went on like a fruit roll-up.” 

“It’s this weird, ghostly, white mask-like thing,” said Lucas Wrench, a 28-year-old Tulsa Artist Fellow, who runs an arts space called OK #1. “It sort of looks like if you FaceSwapped with some creature. I just couldn’t believe it. I’m shocked at how transparent it is—the kind of a symbol they created in putting this enormous billionaire, literally a giant towering billionaire in Tulsa—the lack of self-awareness. They’re groveling.”

The redesign was spearheaded by a “community-led group” called Tulsa For Tesla, in coordination with the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, a spokesperson for Bynum told The Daily Beast. The group has no online profile, although there is a Facebook page for a group called “Tulsa 4 Tesla,” which was started May 17 and boasts 104 followers as of Friday. The administrator of that page told The Daily Beast they had not organized the redesign, but simply wanted Musk to move there. “I had no idea [the other Tulsa For Tesla] existed until a few days ago,” the Tulsa 4 Tesla administrator wrote. “I would have thought they would have [a Facebook] page. When I named this one I looked [for others], even using ‘4’ instead of ‘For’ Tulsa.” 

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