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Grimes Talks Tesla Union Controversy Without Really Saying Anything

Grimes Talks Relationship with Elon Musk in 'WSJ' Interview

Grimes began the press tour for her upcoming album Miss_Anthropocene in the Wall Street Journal Magazine today with an interview in which she discusses her plans to ditch both her given name (Claire) and stage name. Saying instead that she prefers to go by now, Grimes told WSJ reporter Ryan Bradley that she will kill her most famous persona off via “public execution.” Mostly, though, we’re just here for the Elon Musk content.

Per Bradley’s retelling, when he asked Grimes about Musk, she “nearly” collapsed on the floor “in a long, pained groan.” She continued: “Don’t tell him I groaned just now. I groaned out of, I don’t know, feminism. I mean, he’s a super-interesting goddamn person.”

A female artist’s aversion to being framed within the context of her relationship to a powerful man is understandable. Still, it’s impossible not to ask Grimes about her relationship with the embattled Tesla CEO, at the very least because of how their relationship has crossed over into the realm of real news. In the interview with Bradley, Grimes says she was “simply unprepared” for the attention she would attract for dating one of the world’s most famous technocrats. She also addressed the controversy over her tweet defending Musk and Tesla amid unionization efforts at the company, though not the content of the tweet itself. Writes Bradley:

“I was simply unprepared,” she begins. “I’ve just been wallowing in indie music for, like, a decade…. I just thought I could keep going along in my funny little way, and then you casually respond to someone in a tweet and it’s on Fox News, and you’re like, Ugh, you know? That was a very disturbing moment.” She’s referring to a now-deleted tweet in which she responded to allegations that Musk attempted to squash a union being formed at Tesla. “I was like, ‘Oh, I can never tweet about…. I need to watch who I f—ing retweet,” she continues. (In June, Musk tweeted that he is “not against all unions,” while Tesla wrote in July to then–U.S Rep. Keith Ellison that the company “adhere[s] to the nation’s most stringent labor standards” and respects employees’ decisions on whether to organize.)

“People, friends, keep being like, You shouldn’t have to change! But you know what? The world is a bitch. Accept the world. Instead of wishing it was different, figure out what you gotta do and do it.” Then, a moment later, “And look, I love him;”—she won’t even say his name, but she’s talking about Musk—“he’s great. There’s got to be some reason. I just think….” And now, starting and stopping again, she begins to contort her body slightly smaller, as if disappearing into a ball. “I wish.” Another stop. “Yeah. It doesn’t matter.” More thinking. Contorting. Shrinking. Then she straightens up. She has moved on. “Cool,” she says. And that is all she will say about that.

For his part, Musk emailed WSJ to say “I love c’s wild fae artistic creativity and hyper intense work ethic.” Hopefully for their sake he doesn’t mind the groaning.