Elon Musk Settles With Artist Over Farting Unicorn Incident

Yes, this really was an actual legal issue involving farting unicorns.

by Josie Rhodes Cook

It sounds like Elon Musk’s legal tangle with the artist of a farting unicorn has come to an end.

It all started when Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, tweeted a picture of a mug made by Colorado artist Tom Edwards in February of last year. It featured a unicorn farting into a funnel connected to an electric car.

Later that month, Musk shared a copy of Edwards’ unicorn design but appeared to imply it was done on a Tesla sketch pad and claimed the drawing was created by a Tesla super-fan named Nik Jovanovic. The drawing later showed up in Teslas everywhere as the icon for its sketch pad Easter egg, and Tesla used it in a 2017 Christmas message sent to Tesla owners. The appropriation of Edwards’ image without his consent did not appear to go over well with the artist.

Musk's now-deleted tweet about the farting unicorn mug.

In June, Edwards hired a lawyer. Edwards and his attorney reportedly sent Musk a letter indicating they weren’t seeking substantial damages but rather wanted to broker a “mutual decision to value the past and continuing use of the image.” No resolution was initiated at that time by Musk’s team.

It gets uglier. Edwards’ daughter Robin, who goes by the name Lisa Prank, went after Musk in a June tweet that included a link to a Westword article about the situation, captioning it: “hey y’all Grimes’ boyfriend ripped off my dad’s art! this is a true story! what do you have to say for yourself @elonmusk ??”

Musk responded to Lisa Prank’s tweet by calling the design “kinda lame” and suggested the artist be happy that “this attention increased his mug sales,” according to Esquire on Monday. All of Musk’s tweets to Lisa Prank were deleted.

In spite of the public debacle, the whole thing has since reportedly blown over. Edwards posted July 20 on his website Wallyware that the copyright issue had been resolved. Edwards wrote:

I am happy to report that we have reached an agreement with Tesla that resolves our issues in a way that everyone feels good about! It’s clear there were some misunderstandings that led to this escalating, but I’m just glad that everything has been cleared up. I’ve always been a Tesla fan, and I’m looking forward to getting back to making pots and selling them in my online store.

Musk himself posted a link to Edwards’ note on Twitter on Friday:

So far, no details have been released regarding exactly what sort of settlement Edwards and Musk agreed on. But Edwards seems happy, and since it was his farting unicorn art that was allegedly stolen, that’s what really matters in the end for this strange, strange tale.

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