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Tesla Cuts Some Disney+ Accessibility

This week, Tesla made an abrupt change to its in-vehicle entertainment system interface, appearing to cut Disney+ out of the rotation of apps that could be accessed by users. Teslarati initially reported that the car company appeared “to have axed Disney+ from its vehicles.” The site later updated its reporting, writing that, according to Tesla, the Disney+ icon had merely been removed from the car’s Theater screen for “owners who haven’t accessed it.”

While it’s a little unclear what that actually means or why it happened, onlookers largely interpreted the whole thing as a shot fired at Disney CEO Bob Iger. See, Elon Musk has been feuding with Iger ever since Disney decided to pull its advertising from Musk’s platform, X, several weeks ago. The company pulled its ads not long after Musk made a comment that was widely decried as antisemitic. Later, at an event hosted by the New York Times, Musk told advertisers who had pulled their support from the platform to “go fuck” themselves, specifically calling out Iger. Musk later doubled down, stating on X that he thought Iger should be “fired immediately.”

As a result of this ongoing drama, the first thing that people thought when Tesla appeared to nuke Disney+ in its entertainment systems was that Musk was taking yet another swipe at Iger. Such a flagrant display of bad corporate decision-making would be interesting enough on its own, but things got really interesting when @TheTeslaHoe got involved.

Not familiar with The Tesla Hoe? Nor was I before writing this article. To clarify, an X user with the aforementioned handle decided on Monday to call out Musk over the changes to the car’s entertainment system, claiming, in a widely viewed post, that the changes had inconvenienced her as a mother.

“So Disney+ has now been removed from Tesla vehicles. I’m assuming this is in retaliation to Disney pulling advertising from X (which they have every right to do),” Tesla Hoe said. “So now I, as a mom, get to deal with telling my toddlers we can’t watch Disney+ while in our Tesla and deal with their upset feelings because 2 grown men can’t have a civil discussion and move on.”

The criticism continued: “This has WAY more of an affect on Tesla owners than it does Disney. Disney is freakin loaded and they’re definitely not reliant on their app being in every Tesla vehicle. Plus I’m sure Bon Iger [sic] isn’t up in the night crying about this.”

Tesla Hoe added: “This comes off like a temper tantrum. And I feel like Tesla owners are now caught in the crossfire of something that is absolutely not their fault. ***I think Bob shouldn’t have ever pulled advertising. That was silly. But this is also way out of line and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

To clarify, “Hoe” here is actually an abbreviation (H.O.E.) for “Honest Owner’s Experience.” The woman who runs the account also posts videos on YouTube and TikTok, where she shares her perspectives about the vehicles, including reviews of software updates to the car’s Full Self Driving system and other new features. In the aftermath of her posts about the Disney+ drama, Tesla Hoe temporarily became a popular topic on X, where several users commented that Musk had “lost” the influencer. Others criticized her for criticizing Musk.

Several hours after her initial posts, the Tesla Hoe posted about the topic again, appearing to reverse course about the whole thing. “removing disney+ from teslas was clearly elons way of telling us our kids need to go touch grass and we need to actually be parents for a few seconds,” she posted optimistically.

Whether Tesla’s sudden vaporization of the Disney+ app is the result of Musk’s petty squabble with a corporate rival or just his effort to force random children to “touch grass” is unknown. That said, it speaks volumes about the reputation the billionaire has accrued for himself over the past several years that these are the two most favorable hypotheses for an otherwise inexplicable product update.

Gizmodo reached out to the Tesla Hoe to see where she currently stands on the whole situation. We will update this story if she responds.

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