Lilly Wachowski – one-half of a legendary film-making team with her sister Lana Wachowski, who are both transgender – told off eccentric billionaire Elon Musk and Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka for using a line from one of her most successful movies.
Musk is the CEO of Tesla, Inc., and he has been outspoken against measures taken to limit the spread of coronavirus. He threatened to move his company’s headquarters out of California and to sue Alameda County for its “fascist” stay-at-home order, and he has been speaking out against other measures on social media.
Yesterday, Musk – who has called the reaction to COVID-19 “dumb” and a “panic” – referenced the Wachowski’s 1999 film The Matrix on Twitter.
“Take the red pill,” he tweeted.
In The Matrix, the main character finds out that the reality he’s living in is actually a computer program. He is offered a red pill or a blue pill – the red pill will reveal the truth of his universe while the blue pill will make him return to his life within the program.
The term “red pill” has become a symbol of anti-feminists, white nationalists, and rightwing activists, referring to how their conservative worldview allows them to see through the supposed irreality around them constructed by journalists, academics, and scientists.
Ivanka Trump replied, “Taken!” letting her followers know that she is a true believer in rightwing white supremacist ideology.
Lilly Wachowski responded to their use of a line from her film: “F**k both of you.”
Fuck both of you
— Lilly Wachowski (@lilly_wachowski) May 17, 2020
Since The Matrix was released in 1999, both of the Wachowskis have transitioned, and transgender readings of the film have proliferated.
“There’s a critical eye being cast back on Lana and I’s work through the lens of our transness,” said Lilly Wachowski in 2016 at the GLAAD Media Awards. “This is a cool thing because it’s an excellent reminder that art is never static. And while the ideas of identity and transformation are critical components in our work, the bedrock that all ideas rest upon is love.”