Slate home page editors spend a lot of time researching editorial photos to put on our site. Sometimes these searches give unexpected results: random, confusing, and fascinating photos that don’t belong on the homepage, but are too good not to be shared. Every week, we will share the strangest son photo.
What search term did you use to find this on Getty?
What were you hoping to find?
A photo of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk before his concert hosting Saturday Night Live May 8. The show’s decision to spotlight the trollish billionaire, one of the richest people in the world, drew critical and a lot of Twitter soak, but it delighted crypto enthusiasts.
What did you find instead?
A mismatched trio from another world. The masked man is dressed in an elaborate costume possibly representing Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife. The woman is Alice in Wonderland, with a white bunny accessory. As for the shy man between them, is it a jellyfish? a fungus? There is room for interpretation.
Neither Alice nor the jellyfish / mushroom man seem delighted to be photographed. We can’t see the masked man’s face, but his body language is somewhat stiff and awkward. Did the photographer catch them at an inopportune time? Why are they all so serious? Despite the costumes, they don’t really seem to embrace the spirit of Halloween.
What’s the actual backstory here?
This October 2015 photo was taken during the annual Halloween party hosted by Playboy and Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The masked man on the left is Elon Musk. The woman on the right is actress Talulah Riley, then Musk’s wife. (Riley and Musk had a tumultuous relationship: they first married in 2010, divorced in 2012, and married again in 2013. Musk filed for divorce in 2014 but withdrew the action, and the couple eventually divorced a second time in 2016.) the man in the middle is Sean “A Billion Dollars” Parker, co-founder of Napster and first president of Facebook.
The party Featured a haunted house, a 45-foot ferris wheel and, it seems, Leonardo DiCaprio.
Why is this the weird photo of the week?
It’s more intriguing than the SNL “Sketch Ideas” Musk is brainstorming on Twitter, like “Irony Man” and “Baby Shark Tank”.