Elon Musk Calls Shelter-in-Place Orders 'Fascist' on Tesla Earnings Call

Tesla's main Fremont factory has been closed since mid-March, and will likely remain closed for another few weeks.
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not too happy about the suspension of business at Tesla's Fremont, Calif. factory. 

On a call with shareholders, Musk went on an expletive-laced rant about the widespread shelter-in-place orders that have suspended operations at Tesla's main factory in California, calling the orders "fascist."

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report shares were up 9.3% in after hours trading after the company posted a surprise profit of $1.24 per share, versus an expected loss, and revenues roughly in line with forecasts.

In response to a question, Musk referred to the shelter-in-place orders intended to curb the coronavirus pandemic "forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all constitutional rights," followed by a phrase normally abbreviated as "WTF."

The comments echoed an earlier tweet by Musk, who has dismissed the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, once calling it "dumb." 

U.S. reported cases of coronavirus exceeded 1 million, with deaths surpassing 60,000, as of Wednesday. 

Tesla's Fremont factory has been closed since March 19 under a San Francisco Bay Area shelter-in-place order that curbed all but essential business activity. 

Bay Area officials from six counties -- including Alameda County, where Tesla's Fremont factory is located -- recently extended the order through the end of May. 

The extended order loosens restrictions on some business activity, such as construction and other activities that can be safely performed with social distancing protocols, but it appears likely that Tesla's Fremont facility will remain closed for a bit longer. 

Musk called the factory closure a "serious risk" to Tesla's finances, given that it is the company's main production site. 

Musk also said prices on Model 3 vehicles produced in China will be cut effective immediately amid sinking demand for cars and other consumer goods. 

Tesla shares are up about 85% year to date.