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Why is Elon Musk being called ‘Space Karen?’ The Space Karen meme, explained

The comeback we've all waited for is here — with the haircut to match.

Elon Musk TIME Person of the Year 2021
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME

Elon Musk has not known peace since he bought Twitter. The multimillionaire has been the owner of the social media platform for less than a month, but changes quickly became noticeable. His first act as CEO was to fire around half of the platform’s staff, which went down as well as one could imagine — not at all. Thanks to this, Twitter is being sued as its former employees are fighting for their rights.

Adding to the whole mess, according to The Washington Post Musk has recently given employees an ultimatum. They could either commit to an “extremely hardcore” work schedule, which would include “working long hours at high intensity,” or present their resignation letters. Needless to say, many chose the latter option.

Following that, someone with a lot to say took it upon themselves to express their opinions on Musk…by projecting insulting words onto the Twitter HQ building. In the video below, we can see the words “Space Karen” projected, among others, leading to the resurfacing of an old meme.

As it turns out, this is not the first time Musk has been nicknamed Space Karen. The meme originated in 2020, as netizens started comparing him to “Karens” for his entitled behavior. Anyone who has been on the internet for a while is familiar with the term. It is used to refer to people, usually white women, who always want to get their way, and are not above throwing tantrums over minor inconveniences. Rich, entitled, and arrogant are some of the words typically used to describe a Karen, and many feel like those suit Elon Musk just fine.

The term Space Karen was born after Musk made a particularly tone-deaf tweet in April 2020, during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The call to “free America” was in response to the mandatory confinement put in place at the time, and it was not taken lightly by Twitter users.

Following the initial words of criticism, the Internet jumped on the opportunity to turn the occasion into a meme, as it tends to do with most things. Comparisons between Elon Musk and Karens started floating around, with many claiming that his attitude was giving heavy “let me talk to the manager” vibes. The jokes continued, and several photoshopped images of Musk with the iconic Karen haircut were widespread.

Now, thanks to one person with a vision and the projector needed to execute it, the meme is making its big comeback. As difficult as it may be to look at Musk’s face in that haircut, we have to admit it is pretty funny.

Rafaela Coimbra
About the author

Rafaela Coimbra

Rafaela is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. Writing professionally since 2022, she loves sharing her knowledge about all things anime, TV shows, and Internet culture. When she’s not working, you can easily find Rafaela with a fantasy book in hand, or consuming some other form of entertainment — you know, lest a thought occur.