Some say Musk’s paranoia and late-night Twitter rants reveal a billionaire cracking under pressure. But those who know him best say this is nothing new.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 2:37 p.m. ET

Posted on June 21, 2018, at 6:34 p.m. ET



No one lectures Elon Musk. In April, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board discovered this after a call about his organization’s investigation into one of Tesla Motors’ autopiloted vehicles devolved into a heated exchange, leading the billionaire entrepreneur to hang up on the federal regulator. That fiery interaction eventually leaked to the press and ricocheted around the internet as further evidence that Musk was losing it.

As BuzzFeed News has learned, it wasn’t even the first time that Tesla’s CEO had gone off on a federal organization investigating one of his companies. Yet taken together with his other antics and problems of 2018, the shocking behavior was viewed by some pundits as a prime example of Musk cracking under pressure.

But the thing is: None of this is new for Musk. He has always been the architect of his own image and has long run roughshod over journalists and his own communications team alike. In interviews with BuzzFeed News, nine people who previously worked with Musk, and who requested anonymity to preserve their personal and professional relationships, said that while the level of scrutiny on the CEO may be new, his behavior…

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