Fact Check: Elon Musk, Joanna Gaines Did NOT Endorse 'Watt Saver'

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Elon Musk, Joanna Gaines Did NOT Endorse 'Watt Saver' Old Scam

Did tech entrepreneur Elon Musk join forces with interior designer Joanna Gaines to promote a product called "Watt Saver" that was claimed to help people save on electricity bills? No, that's not true: It's a long-running scam that uses manipulated images and faked news articles about the endorsement. Back in 2023, Gaines publicly denied any involvement in this scheme.

The claim reappeared in a post (archived here) on Facebook on March 22, 2024. It opened:

𝗘𝗹𝗼𝗻 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗸 has invited the renowned interior designer 𝗝𝗼𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗮 𝗚𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀 to endorse Watt Saver, aiming to assist ordinary households in saving substantial amounts on their electricity bills while contributing to energy conservation and environmental protection.

The post included an image that appeared to show Musk and Gaines together. A banner placed on the bottom of the picture read:


This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-04-17 at 10.58.10 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 10:58:10 2024 UTC)

As reported by Country Living (archived here) on December 22, 2023, Gaines refuted the claim in a story on Instagram. Her statement opened:

A few scams out there that aren't us... (Please report if you see these.)

A banner in her story on Instagram placed on top of the screenshots of the articles making claims continued:


On April 17, 2024, a search across the websites indexed by Google News for the keywords "Elon Musk," "Joanna Gaines" and "Watt Saver" (archived here) did not produce any results.

A broader search (archived here) for the same terms across Google showed either duplicates of the claim or articles describing it as a scam.

The image that appeared to portray them holding the device showed inconsistencies typical for AI-generated images: All hands seen in the picture had features that are generally not seen in humans. "Gaines's" left hand showed something that looked like a thumb growing from the middle of her fingers; "her" right wrist did not seem to be naturally attached to the rest of the arm; and "Musk's" pinky finger was longer than others.

Screen Shot 2024-04-17 at 12.04.02 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 10:58:10 2024 UTC)

The link that the post on Facebook urged people to open led to an article that did not even mention Watt Saver or Gaines:

Screen Shot 2024-04-17 at 12.58.28 PM.png

(Source: Manif screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 16:58:28 2024 UTC)

Screen Shot 2024-04-17 at 11.02.46 AM.png

(Source: Manif screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 15:02:46 2024 UTC)

Instead, the piece showed a digitally altered image of Musk and environmental activist Greta Thunberg.

As a reverse image search shows, the original photo used by the article above captured Musk alone (archived here). He did not hold anything in his hand (archived here) in the picture.

The rest of the article claimed to show a Fox News report. In reality, Fox News never published (archived here) that or any story discussing Musk and Watt Saver (archived here.)

In 2022, Lead Stories debunked an older variation of the claim.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about scams are here. Stories mentioning Musk are here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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