MILPITAS (CBS SF) – An ad campaign urging Tesla CEO Elon Musk to end his involvement with President Donald Trump’s business advisory council is reportedly being funded by a Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
According to Bloomberg, Doug Derwin launched the $2 million campaign that includes billboards, TV ads, and full-page ads in newspapers.
Last month, KPIX 5 reported on a digital billboard that read “Dear Elon, Please Dump Trump” and “Resist” on Interstate 880 in Milpitas, not far from the Tesla factory in Fremont. The ad did not have Derwin’s name, only text underneath the ad saying it does not represent the views of billboard owner Clear Channel Outdoor.
The investor said he was spurred to action after finding out Musk was meeting with the new president and joining committees in the administration. Derwin, who was in the process of purchasing a Tesla Model S sedan, said he canceled his order and made a $150,000 donation to the American Civil Liberties Union instead.
“Trump was using Elon to legitimize himself,” Derwin told Bloomberg. “It says a lot to low information voters that Trump can’t possibly be that bad because here is Elon Musk hanging on his every word. That’s why I canceled the order. A principled opposition is important here.”
Derwin plans to escalate his campaign by going to college campuses, telling young engineers to avoid working at Tesla or SpaceX, where Musk is also CEO.
The investor also plans to offer to pay people who made deposits for the upcoming Model 3 sedan to cancel their orders.
Derwin said he would drop his campaign and pledge to donate $1 million to a charity of Musk’s choice if he cuts ties from the administration and speaks out against the president.
In previous statements, Musk said the council simply provides advice and attending does not mean he agrees with the actions by the administration.