Amid the Twitter verification brouhaha and suspensions of verified users who changed their name to “Elon Musk,” the platform’s new billionaire owner drew more fire Monday for sharing an image of a Nazi soldier.
In the photo, a WWII-era German Wehrmacht soldier has three carrier pigeons in a cage on his back; the text “3 UNREAD MESSAGES” has been added to the photo. Musk’s own caption, “How times have changed,” was innocuous enough, but the fact he chose an image of a member of Hitler’s Army to spread his message is not.
Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko tweeted, “Wait. Elon endorsed Republicans AND shared a picture of a Nazi soldier? So he’s exactly what we thought he was.”
Others shared the archival photo’s listing on Getty Images, which confirms the image’s origins. “A German Wehrmacht soldier carries a cage of carrier pigeons used for relaying messages, on the Western front during the German invasion of France, known as the Battle of France, in WWII, circa May 1940,” reads the Getty caption.
It comes with this note on Getty: “Please note: images depicting historical events may contain themes, or have descriptions, that do not reflect current understanding. They are provided in a historical context.”
Some floated the theory that Musk simply shared the image without being aware of its context. ‘”It’s easy to read this as “Elon Musk keeps posting Nazi s—” but I think the actual story is that because he loves stealing posts form his replies, there are a bunch of people trying to get him to post Nazi s— and succeeding because he’s easily manipulated. Seems worse!” tweeted Cooper Lund.
Although the photo does not include Nazi insignia, the helmet worn by the soldier appears to be a Stahlhelm, which was part of the Germany army’s uniform.
Musk has already been blasted for his refusal to moderate ethnic and racial failures on the platform, as well as blatantly pro-Nazi tweets.
Read a roundup of more Twitter responses to Musk’s latest misstep below.