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Teenager refuses $5k from Elon Musk

If Elon Musk offered you R76 000 ($5k) to delete your Twitter account, would you do it? Jack Sweeney, a 19-year old aerospace student at the University of Florida, flatly rejected the offer. 😂

Sweeney runs a cheeky Twitter account called @ElonJet which tracks every movement tech boss Musk’s private jet makes, drawn from publicly available air-traffic information; he also speculates about what Musk and co may be up to. Musk privately messaged the teen in November asking him to delete the account for $5k because it compromises his safety, saying “I don’t love the idea of being shot by a nutcase”. Sweeney, who publicised the exchange, countered that the payment wouldn’t replace the satisfaction he gets from running it. He had a counter-offer: “Any chance to up that to $50k? [R768 000] It would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even a [Tesla] Model 3.” 😂 Musk declined, saying it didn’t feel right to pay to shut down the account. Sweeney assured Musk there were mechanisms to protect the jet’s identifying number. 

Sweeney, an aviation enthusiast, also has accounts that track other wealthy people’s private planes, like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and even Drake (fleeing his RiRi heartbreak, no doubt 😆). Sweeney says he’s a fan of Musk’s and was hoping for an internship, if nothing else, but we think the Pretoria-born billionaire would demur given that he subsequently blocked Sweeney. But the teen has already parlayed the viral exchange into a career opportunity: a private charter firm has offered him a job on its tech development team. Damn. 😑 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 3 February 2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.