From sexual harassment accusations to some erratic behavior around his intent to purchase Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report, some longtime fans of Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report boss Elon Musk are wondering if he's as clever as he's previously seemed.
Musk has built a massive social media following on his dedication to innovation, free speech, and voicing his opinions as loudly and consistently as possible, and has gained a legion of fanboys because of it.
But while many believe Musk some kind of futuristic tech prophet, some Americans are becoming disillusioned with him these days.
However, if Musk even feels down in the dumps about this and can't be cheered up by his piles of money, he can look to other countries to boost his ego, where fans love him so much they go to great lengths to be noticed by him.
One of them actually got Musk's attention after posting a video of himself on social media, likely because the man appears at first glance to be the spitting image of Musk himself.
The resemblance was so striking that Musk replied to the video in December 2021 via Twitter.
Who is This Elon Musk Doppelganger, Anyway?
The man who looks suspiciously like the Tesla is named Yilong Ma, although the name he uses on social media is Elong Musk.
Something about his content must have offended TikTok owner ByteDance, however, because his accounts on Chinese social media sites Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and Weibo, a Twitter-like platform used in Asian countries, have been banned.
Ma responded by moving all his content to TikTok, which has not banned it — yet. All his uploaded videos have millions of views.
Ma is clearly hopeful that Musk will notice him again.
His latest post shows him in a suit standing next to a black Tesla, and the caption says, "I want to take my brother for a ride in my Tesla!"
But it seems as if Musk is not convinced that Ma is actually a real person, which he tweeted in response to a user who posted a side-by-side photo of the two men.
Musk has a point.
Deepfake technology, which uses AI to recognize patterns in data and replicate a person's facial movements, are hitting a new point of realism, and Ma could just be taking advantage of it.
Musician Kendrick Lamar's latest video, "The Heart Part 5," uses the technology to striking effect as Lamar flawlessly transforms into several other Black men in it, including Kanye West and O.J. Simpson, proving just how easy it is these days to "become" someone else.
Ma is far from the only fan to use resemblance as a way of attracting celebrity attention.
Oli London, a non-binary British internet personality, admires Korean superstar band BTS member Park Jimin so much that they had plastic surgery to resemble the artist, down to having their eyes redone to resemble Asian eyes.
Since the surgeries, London has formally auditioned for Big Hit, BTS' parent company, and posted that they identify as "trans-racial."
“I just want to make Jimin proud as well," London said in a YouTube video after the surgery. "Jimin is my ultimate idol and I want him to be proud. I’m sure he’ll be proud that I look exactly like him now."