A Fake Elon Musk Showed Up to a New York Launch Party

The event promised an appearance by the Twitter and Tesla CEO, but the 120 attendees later realized they had been duped by an impersonator

Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building on January 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California. A Musk impersonator showed up at a launch party for a magazine in NY on April 27, confusing guests
This is Elon Musk. This is not the man who showed up to a recent magazine launch party in NYC.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Chinese fans of Elon Musk were duped by an imposter at a New York publication launch, according to Insider. So much for verified accounts. Gary Kong, president of the Sino-American Commerce Association, had promised attendees at his Wall St Magazine launch that the Twitter and Tesla CEO would make an appearance. And, indeed, somebody who resembled Musk did show up at the James Hotel on April 27, posing for pictures and even participating in an awards ceremony.

However, some of the 120 people in attendance later realized that the man surrounded by bodyguards was not, in fact, Musk.

Kong himself denies any sort of bait and switch. Per the South China Morning Post, an April 23 press release for the event described it as an “Elon Musk launch cover appearance party in Manhattan,” which Kong said alluded to Musk’s appearance on the magazine’s cover, not at the party itself. The Post suggests that some attendees may have paid up to $30,000 to attend the event (Kong disputes this, claiming that the event was free, although he had charged for an event in March where Musk was a no-show) and that the outrage over the faux Musk appearance might have been the result of “differences between Chinese and Western cultures,” whatever that means.

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All this comes as Musk recently announced he planned to “purge” inactive Twitter accounts, which might open up the social media site to more bad actors claiming dormant usernames and sowing confusion and misrepresentation. In that way, Kong’s stunt (ill-advised or malicious) does feel like a synergetic act.

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