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A fake Elon Musk angered and disappointed dozens of Chinese fans who showed up at a New York event wanting to meet the real deal


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By Aditi Bharade

A group of Chinese Elon Musk fans thought they would meet him at an event in New York. They were massively disappointed when a Musk impersonator showed up instead.

The event’s organizer, Gary Kong, had promised that the Twitter and Tesla CEO would be at the launch event for Kong’s new publication, the Wall St Magazine, per a report by the South China Morning Post. Kong is the president of the Sino-American Commerce Association, a non-profit organization in Flushing, New York.

Over 120 Chinese fans of the tech mogul headed down to The James Hotel in Manhattan on April 27 at 7 p.m. to catch a glimpse of Musk, per Chinese media outlet The Paper. They waited for more than an hour and a half before a man who only slightly resembled Musk showed up.

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The Paper reported that the man was surrounded by several bodyguards when he arrived. He then posed for a few photos and participated in an awards ceremony before leaving quickly.

According to The Paper, people only realized after the event that the man’s voice and appearance did not match Musk’s.

Gao Weiwei, who attended the event in New York and took a photo with the fake Musk, posted a video about the event on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

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“Never in our wildest dreams did we think it was a fake Musk,” Gao said.

“When I saw him in person, I thought: ‘Hey, that doesn’t look like Musk,'” Gao added. “I just thought that maybe he looks a little different in real life.”

Gao also posted a video of herself and other event attendees posing with the fake Musk — who was being shepherded into the event hall, through a dense crowd of people snapping photos and taking videos. The video has been viewed more than 33,000 times as of press time.

Speaking to the SCMP, Kong said he had never promised that Musk would attend the event. Kong also told the SCMP that the wording on the event’s press release suggested that Musk would just be on the cover of the magazine and not at the party itself.

However, The Paper published what appeared to be a copy of the invitation to the event. The invitation read: “The main committee has invited many entrepreneurs, & Elon Musk. Mr. Elon Musk is the CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX), CEO of Tesla (TESLA), and the chairman of the board of directors of SolarCity.”

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Insider was also unable to immediately verify the identity of the Musk impersonator.

Kong’s representatives at the Sino-American Commerce Association did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. Musk and Gao also did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Originally published on Insider, South China Morning Post

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