Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk got the ball rolling with a cryptic tweet Sunday, referencing the classic scene from the 1999 sci-fi thriller.
"Take the red pill," Musk wrote.
While there was no explanation, the political implications were clear for Musk — a vocal critic of California's response to the coronavirus who has opened his Tesla manufacturing plant in defiance of local shutdown orders.
In "Matrix," Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) shows an unaware Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) that he’s been living his normal life in a computer simulation. Morpheus offers a choice: Take a blue pill and go back to this life and forget about everything. Or else take a red pill to learn the truth – that his world is really the Matrix, "a prison for your mind."
Anderson takes the pill and completes his transformation into the Matrix-battling hero Neo.
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According to the Urban Dictionary, "Red pill" has become a popular phrase in cyberculture and signifies a free-thinking attitude, and a waking up from a "normal" life of sloth and ignorance. According to a 2018 Wired article on the phrase, “red-pilled” is "now widely understood shorthand for having your eyes opened to a certain kind of 'conservatism'
First daughter and White House adviser responded to Musk's "red pill" tweet, adding "Taken!"
These led Wachowski to tweet a succinct, NSFW response.
She followed up with a request for followers to donate to Brave Space Alliance, an LGBTQ social services organization in Chicago.
— Lilly Wachowski (@lilly_wachowski) May 17, 2020
Musk has tweeted a playful "Matrix" meme picturing a glowering Morpheus after Neo has taken both red and blue pills, adding, "When u take DayQuil & NyQuil at same time."
But neither Musk nor Trump has responded to Wachowski.
Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss will return to their famed roles for a fourth "Matrix" movie, a production that has been halted due to the coronavirus.
Lana Wachowski – sibling to Lilly and the other co-creator of the record-breaking and reality-bending world of “The Matrix" – is set to write, direct and produce the new film.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elon Musk, Ivanka Trump invoke 'red pill'; 'Matrix' creator displeased