Elon Musk had a two-word response for those asking him how it felt to lose $20 million because of a tweet he made back in August: “worth it.”
The technology investor and entrepreneur, who founded SpaceX and Tesla, was fined $20 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors. Apart from a $20 million personal fine, his company, Tesla, was also fined $20 million separately, but it appears Musk has no qualms about losing so much money.
As the Guardian reports, Musk had made posts back in August where he said that he was considering making Tesla a private company and even claimed that funding had been secured for the same. But his tweets had absolutely no basis in fact, resulting in a stern rebuke from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which concluded that investors of Musk’s company had suffered because of the ensuing market chaos.
As part of the settlement, Musk and his company had each agreed to pay a fine of $20 million. Musk also agreed to step down from the position of chairman he hitherto held, with regulators giving him until November 13 to find a successor. James Murdoch, who is shortly to step down from the position of chief executive of 21st Century Fox when the company completes the sale of the majority of its assets to Disney, is first in line to replace Musk.
But none of this seems to have fazed the billionaire, who, when asked by a Twitter user about how it felt to lose $40 million because of a single tweet, said that it was “worth it.” Soon after saying this, Musk announced that he would take a break from Twitter for a few days, giving rise to speculations that the entrepreneur had also been told not to make public comments about his company’s finances.
So this one tweet cost Elon Musk and Tesla a combined $40m in fines. pic.twitter.com/eHfo7VoRFj— steven leaney (@StevenLeaney) September 29, 2018
Musk has indeed been told to “comply with the company’s communications procedures when tweeting about the firm,” failing which, he could expect harsher penalties.
It has been nothing short of a whirlwind year for Musk, who was involved in an uncharacteristic feud with British scuba diver Vernon Unsworth in July of this year when he tweeted that Unsworth was a “pedo” for criticizing Musk of hogging the limelight. Musk had offered to help teenagers who were trapped in a Thailand cave by making a small submarine, but when Unsworth said that it was only a means for Musk to generate more publicity, the entrepreneur hit back by calling the diver a “pedo.”
Unsworth subsequently sued Musk, according to CNBC. Then, in September, Tesla shares crashed 6 percent and two of its senior executives quit hours after Musk sparked concern by smoking marijuana with comedian Joe Rogan during a live web show, as the Guardian reported.