Never underestimate Elon Musk’s ability to be very, very mad.
In a rather controversial move, Tesla’s latest holiday update has seemingly removed the shortcut to launch the in-car Disney+ app from some vehicles following Musk’s recent public spat with Disney CEO Bob Iger.
The news was first reported on social media earlier today, including accounts like Tesla Software Update on X. Affected owners found that the app was missing from the Tesla Theater after installing the latest vehicle update which also includes a number of additional NHTSA-backed safeguards for Tesla’s Level 2 driver assistance system, Autopilot.
A number of users on X have confirmed that they are missing the shortcut following the installation of this year’s Holiday update (which is still rolling out to vehicles across the country.) Affected owners no longer see the Disney+ app which can be launched from the car’s Theater app by the driver only when a vehicle is parked.
Not all owners are missing the app, however. It appears that only those who have not launched the Disney+ app previously are actually missing the shortcut in the Tesla theater.
It would also appear that the app itself isn’t deleted from the car, but is instead hidden from the Theater. Owners quickly found that the app shortcut would re-appear if they were to navigate to the Disney+ streaming site in the in-car browser.
This has raised an eyebrow from some who have questioned if the removal of the app shortcut is a bug, or if it was an intentional move following the public “go eff yourself” moment where Musk specifically called out Iger for dropping advertising on X, which Musk currently owns, amid concerns about rising hate speech on the platform.
Fellow EV-centric publication Electrek claims the move was intentional and cites an unnamed source who says that Tesla gave Disney a heads-up that its app would be removed from Tesla vehicles as early as last week.
Reportedly, Tesla changed its mind from completely removing the app for all owners to only removing the app for owners who have not launched it previously. Again, it’s not clear if this was an intentional removal, or if it’s a bug. Tesla is not reachable to confirm this, as it famously dissolved the company’s PR department in late 2019.
If the removal of the app from Tesla’s vehicles has a link to the Musk and Iger dispute, the move certainly doesn’t look great for Tesla’s brand image. For starters, its CEO already plays a major role in at least six other companies—CEO of SpaceX, owner and CTO of X, founder of xAI, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink, and president of the Musk Foundation.
Now with a potential link between one of Musk’s personal companies and the publicly traded automaker, shareholders may look to Tesla’s board for answers on whether or not this constitutes a conflict of interest.