• Elon Musk’s strange tweets have continued, with the CEO tweeting, “Take the red pill,” on Sunday.
  • “The red pill” is a common internet term for an individual shifting their political views rightward.
  • Musk has been using Twitter to attack what he sees as government overreach in keeping businesses shut down as the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown orders continues.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk’s streak of strange tweets continued, with the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeting “Take the red pill” to his 34 million followers on Sunday.

At its most basic level, the tweet is a reference to a scene from the 1999 movie ‘The Matrix,’ in which the character Morpheus tells the protagonist Neo that he has been living in a computer simulation and is given the choice of taking a red or blue pill. “You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” (It’s worth noting that Musk does seem to believe there’s a good chance we’re living in a computer simulation.) But taking the red pill, or being “red-pilled,” is much more commonly used on the internet to denote a right-wing political awakening. It’s often used in forums dedicated to topics like Donald Trump or “men’s rights” organizations.

It grew in popularity thanks to a subreddit called TheRedPill, which is openly misogynistic. Writing about in 2013, Business Insider described the subreddit’s views:

Welcome to The Red Pill, an Internet community on Reddit founded on the general belief that women have it better than men. Red Pill is not a dating advice bulletin, but rather a forum for people – men, mostly – exploring an ideology that revolves almost exclusively around gender. Those who “swallow the pill” maintain that it’s men not women, who have been socially disenfranchised. Feminism is considered a damaging ideology and Red Pillers are quick to cite examples that bolster their points, some going so far as to argue that society is outright anti-male.

The tweet comes as Musk, who once tweeted he is “openly moderate,” has taken increasingly anti-regulatory tone as coronavirus has forced the shutdown of his Fremont factory. He has called stay-at-home orders “fascist,” and last Monday said he was reopening his Fremont factory and was willing to be arrested to do so.

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Already conservative voices are hailing the tweet as a sign that Musk, who tweeted that he supported Democratic candidate Andrew Yang in 2019, is joining their side. Ivanka Trump quickly retweeted Musk’s tweet herself, responding, “Taken!”