The Elon Musk affair may have turned into the weirdest remake of Reefer Madness. In August the entrepreneur tweeted that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420.” It may or may not have been a dumb weed joke — 420 is a favorite code in cannabis culture — but the S.E.C. thought it was legit and accused him of misleading investors. Cut to today, and Musk, as per CNN Money, is stepping down as chairman of Tesla and being forced to pay a $20 (not $420) million fine, making Musk’s tweet possibly the most expensive tweet ever tweeted.
That doesn’t mean Musk will no longer be the company’s CEO. Under the settlement, Musk “only” has to step down as Chairman; he won’t be allowed to run for the position for three years. Musk went along with the decision, though when the S.E.C. first filed their claim on Thursday, he called it “unjustified.”
“I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency and investors,” Musk said Thursday. “Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”
The August tweet, which Musk said he sent out while “driving,” also claimed the funding for such an endeavor was secure. (It wasn’t.) The tweet caused Tesla’s stock to soar. That alerted the S.E.C., who called Musk’s actions “reckless,” no matter what was intended, and filed a suit claiming he “knew that he had never discussed a going-private transaction at $420 per share with any potential funding source.”
Earlier in September, Musk went on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and allowed video to be shot of him smoking pot with the former NewsRadio actor and Fear Factor host.
(Via CNN Money)