‘Matrix’ co-creator calls out Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump for urging people to swallow the ‘red pill

‘Matrix’ co-creator calls out Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump for urging people to swallow the ‘red pill
Ivanka Trump image via Fox News.

Although the term “the red pill” has come to be identified with far-right anti-feminist websites such as Return of Kings, that’s not where it originated: the expression made its debut in sisters Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s first of three “Matrix” films. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently used the expression in a tweet that White House Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump forwarded — and Lilly Wachowski is calling them out for it.


In the first “Matrix” film, taking “the red pill” means accepting a dystopian world as it really is. But when the alt-right adopted the term, they give it a far-right, socially conservative anti-feminist connotation — one in which someone who “takes the red pill” has had an alt-right awakening and rejects liberal or progressive ideology.

On Sunday, May 17, Musk tweeted, “Take the red pill.” And Ivanka Trump, upon seeing Musk’s tweet, responded, “taken!” Lilly Wachowski, in response to their tweets, posted, “Fuck both of you.” In a separate tweet, Musk (who has 34 million followers on Twitter), described “the red pill” as “one of my fav Matrix memes.”

One area of the far-right anti-feminist movement, incels, have come up with their own twisted expression: “the black pill,” which refers to avoiding women altogether and sets itself apart from the “red pill” ideology that Return of Kings promoted before it went on hiatus in 2018. While Return of Kings founder Roosh Valizadeh promoted “PUA” or “pick-up artist” ideology and encouraged domination of women, incels (which is short for “involuntarily celibate”) embrace a different form of misogyny and see “taking the black pill” as avoiding women altogether.

Lilly Wachowski, who has been outspoken on transgender rights, followed up her anti-Musk, anti-Trump tweet with a request for donations to the Brave Space Alliance (an organization that supports transgender rights).

The “Matrix” co-creator wasn’t the only Twitter user who had a negative reaction to Musk’s tweet. Democratic activist Jon Cooper, @joncoopertweets, posted, “Take the red pill and shove it, Elon.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.