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Elon Musk accused of stealing farting unicorn image

Elon Musk accused of stealing farting unicorn image

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has been accused of using an image of a farting unicorn for his business without permission or compensation.

Last year, Mr Musk tweeted the original image, which featured on a mug by Colorado potter Tom Edwards.

However, similar images of farting unicorns were used in Tesla in-car interfaces and promotional material.

Mr Edwards’ daughter Lisa Prank said the art was “ripped off” by Mr Musk, who said he had offered to pay.

On Thursday morning, Mr Musk tweeted a journalist saying: “I offered to pay the guy who drew it twice already for something I don’t even want.”

In response to another tweet, he said: “I definitely care about artists getting compensated. It would be unfair not to do so.”

In February 2017, Mr Musk shared the “whimsical drawing” of a unicorn farting electricity to power an electric car which featured on his “favourite” mug.

The post brought some exposure for Mr Edwards, who had started making his unicorn mugs in 2010 and was thrilled to find out Mr Musk was a fan of his work.

However, the happy relationship came to an end when Mr Edwards’ friend bought a Tesla car and discovered the use of a similar farting unicorn.

On Tuesday, Ms Prank tweeted to point out Mr Musk, the boyfriend of Canadian musician Grimes, “ripped off my dad’s art”, and asked: “What do you have to say for yourself @elonmusk?”

Mr Musk replied directly to Ms Prank, crediting the design to Nik Jovanovic, another Twitter user. He offered to “change it to something else if your Dad wants”.