Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Farting unicorn artist settles with Elon Musk's Tesla Motors

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a now deleted tweet in late June it would be "kind of lame" to sue him for copyright infringement. The drawing on the left was used in a new Tesla app update. The mug on the right was created by ceramic artist Tom Edwards.

The ceramic artist behind a mug depicting a farting unicorn has settled for an undisclosed amount with Tesla Motors.

The farting unicorn mug gained notoriety on Twitter in late June after Tesla CEO Elon Musk used the image of the mythical creature for Tesla's operating system.

Tom Edwards, the Denver-based owner of Wallypots, authored a post on his blogFriday titled "Copyright Issue: RESOLVED!" 

Three weeks ago, aTwitter feud between Edwards' daughter — Seattle musician Robin Edwards — and Musk led the Tesla CEO to delete tweets where he claimed he did not rip off Edwards' farting unicorn.   

The Twitter exchange between Edwards' daughter, who performs under the name Lisa Prank, and Musk followed a May 23, 2018, letter that attorney Tim Atkinson (Edwards' attorney) emailed to Tesla. The Guardian reported that the letter was not a cease and desist order but an "invitation for all parties to continue to benefit from the whimsical, and amazingly spot on piece of imagery my client created in 2010, which now appropriately finds a home in the operating system of the magical vehicles your company produces."

Celebrities including Vanessa Carlton and J.K. Rowling became privy to the farting unicorn story via Twitter last month. Carlton tweeted at Musk to "do the right thing" in response to tweets by Robin Edwards aka Lisa Prank; Rowling shared a hot take after The Guardian tweeted their farting unicorn report

It turns out Musk indeed cares about artists getting paid, which is what the tech billionaire said in a now-deleted Tweet pictured below. Musk is also CEO of aerospace company SpaceX and The Boring Company; he gained notoriety recently for calling a British diver in the Thai cave operation a "pedo guy," because the man criticized a submarine Musk's team created for the rescue. 

Edwards declined to disclose the agreement amount publicly. 

[asset-images[{"caption": "Following a Twitter feud Tuesday June 26, 2018 with well-known Seattle musician Robin Edwards, who plays under the name Lisa Prank, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has deleted tweets related to farting unicorn art.", "fid": "146233", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201807/screen_shot_2018-06-30_at_2.30.58_pm_0.png", "attribution": "Credit Twitter Screenshots/Brie Ripley"}]]In an interview with KUOW, Edwards said: "It's kind of like never having surfed before and then going off and surfing a giant wave." He added that lawyers for Tesla Motors were pleasant to work with.   

The 61-year-old artist wrote on his blog, "It's clear there were some misunderstandings that led to this escalating, but I'm glad that everything has been cleared up." 

Year started with KUOW as an intern: 2013