Elon Musk Announces Aspergers Diagnosis on SNL


Han-ah Kang

About 2 weeks ago on SNL, billionaire and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk announced that he was “… the first person with Aspergers to host SNL,” While he was not the first person, which was Dan Aykroyd in 2003, many agree that this is a step in the right direction.

Although he was applauded for embracing his neurodivergence, controversy was sparked regarding the outdated term used. People with Aspergers are considered more “neurotypical passing” and high functioning. Aspergers was no longer used as a medical term since 2013. Instead levels are used to diagnose severity of autism today.”

The origin of the diagnosis ‘Aspergers’ comes from Hans Asperger, who was a German pediatrician who worked with children with disabilities. While he protected many of the children he saw potential in because they showed high intelligence who he called “autistic psychopaths,” he sent many to the Am Spiegelgrund Clinic where they were to be euthanized by Nazis. Hans Aspergers played a role in the horrifying eugenics under the fascist Nazi government. 

“I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that’s just how my brain works. To anyone I’ve offended, I just want to say, I reinvented electric cars and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?” Elon Musk stated on Saturday Night Live regarding his tweets including , “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.” In response to criticism of his involvement in the conflict in Bolivia because he sources cheap lithium from there. Many have pointed out that while he is getting praised for being open about his diagnosis, the attention is being deferred from his unethical tactics. Musk has been known for the mistreatment of his workers and opposition of labor unions to gain profit. 

Elon Musk casually sharing the fact that he is neurodivergent has helped lift the stigma in many ways. Although the term is outdated, people in positions of power accepting and being open about being on the spectrum helps us change societally. However we must acknowledge the heinous history behind the label Aspergers and lift the stigma whether or not a person is high functioning.