Photo: Getty

It looks like Tesla founder and tortured workaholic Elon Musk has deleted his Instagram account. “Finally!” you might say, if you’ve been following the 47-year-old’s controversial behavior on social media lately. “But wait you have to give me back my phone!” Azealia Banks might say, since she demanded Musk return the device around the same time he nuked his Instagram. “What on Earth is happening?” everyone else will definitely ask.

At the moment, we do not know exactly what’s happening. We can, however, piece together a curious timeline that began a few days ago, when Banks posted what appeared to be an intimate series of direct messages between her and Musk’s girlfriend, Grimes, to her Instagram stories. In those stories, Banks accused Musk of tapping her phone, among other things:


The situation then escalated this week, when Musk and Grimes unfollowed each other on Instagram, leading some to suggest that the couple had broken up. This was after Musk apparently unfollowed Grimes on Twitter and generally reduced his activity on the platform over the weekend. All that would have seemed like an almost understandable conclusion to the situation, but then Banks posted further Instagram stories last night, tagging Musk and asking him to give her back her phone. (Maybe she meant stop tapping it?)


Within a few hours, folks online noticed that Elon Musk’s Instagram page no longer existed.

Screenshot: Gizmodo

This is all so dramatic. It’s like a coterie of celebrities got into a disagreement they turned it into bizarre social media activity like a band of bored seventh graders. Except, Musk is not supposed to be bored, because Tesla stock has been tanking after he declared he was thinking about taking the company private at $420 per share, “Funding secured.” (Tesla’s stock was actually rising at the end of the day on Monday, but those moves likely had more to do with the market than with Musk’s social media behavior.)

Of course, there’s a longer, more tortured backstory to Musk internet behavior. A little over a week ago, Banks claimed on Instagram that Grimes had ghosted her and abandoned her in Musk’s house when the two were supposed to be recording a track together. Banks also claimed that Musk had been “tweeting on acid.” Musk told Gizmodo at the time that he “has never even met [Banks] or communicated with her in any way.” Musk later told the New York Times that his idea to take Tesla stock private at $420 had nothing to do with drugs, and that he was definitely not smoking weed when he sent the tweet. “I was not on weed, to be clear,” the billionaire said. “Weed is not helpful for productivity.”


Who knows what really happened. Heck, who know’s what’s happening right now. It’s clear that Banks is still upset with Musk for a number of reasons, and she’s airing those grievances very publicly. It’s also clear that, at the time of this post, Musk’s Instagram no longer exists. His Twitter account is still live and is mostly filled with news about Tesla. Still, his latest tweet shows some signs of internal turmoil:


We’ve reached out to Musk and asked about the latest Banks drama and his missing Instagram. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

Update 11:20am - Elon Musk has confirmed what happened to his Instagram account. “I deleted it last night,” Musk told Gizmodo. He offered no further explanation.


Update 12:40pm - Elon Musk has clarified why he deleted his Instagram. “I didn’t like it,” Musk told Gizmodo.

Senior editor at Gizmodo.

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