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Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down for an enlightening interview on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, where he was grilled by Leslie Stahl over his use of Twitter and whether or not his tweets now need to be screened.
Earlier this year, the 47-year-old billionaire was slapped with securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after he tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420, which we have since learned was allegedly inspired by smoking pot with the musician Grimes, his on-again-off-again girlfriend.
Both Tesla and Musk were fined $20 million in a settlement that was reached with the SEC, and he was forced to step down as the chairman of his company. As part of the settlement, Musk also had to agree that all company communications, including Twitter, would be overseen by his board.
But despite everything that happened, Musk seems unbothered about the terms of the settlement or another potential crisis, and he claims that no one at Tesla censors or supervises his tweets.
“The only tweets that would have to be reviewed would be if a tweet had a probability of causing a movement in the stock, he explained. “Otherwise, it’s, hello? First Amendment.”
Elon Musk—while fighting off tears—says that Tesla can't review his tweets because of "the First Amendment" and that he does not respect the Securities and Exchange Commission, which fined him and Tesla $40 million earlier this year.pic.twitter.com/hNH2UK6TmI— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 10, 2018
“Freedom of speech is fundamental,” he continued, seemingly missing the point. When asked how his board can know if a tweet is going to move the market without the chance to read them first, Musk quite reasonably replied, “We might make some mistakes, who knows!”
This was too much for even seasoned interviewer Stahl, who broke out in laughter and asked him,”Are you serious?” “Nobody’s perfect,” Musk offered. “I want to be clear, I do not respect the SEC. I do not respect them.”
Cool story, Elon Musk! Whether not the interview gets him in hot water with the SEC remains to be seen, but the court of public opinion naturally had some thoughts.
70% chance elon handcuffs hismelf to twitter hq before the year's up https://t.co/cjR8cd6Lx7— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) December 10, 2018
The only appropriate response to anything Elon Musk does pic.twitter.com/gX3XxTzghh— Dad (@fivefifths) December 10, 2018
the Tony Stark of crying about tweets https://t.co/3bQQj9FO6k— Ryan Perry (@rynprry) December 10, 2018
The First Amendment, originally ratified so censorship would be left to the states, is now every dumb guy's excuse for having bad opinions https://t.co/lh1uWYfwZh— The Give Smart Guy (@BobbyBigWheel) December 10, 2018
Best part of this is when Leslie Stahl just says, "Are you serious?" https://t.co/cEdRVe0bId— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) December 10, 2018
SEC Chair Jay Clayton to appear before a Senate cmte tomorrow.— Renae Merle (@renaemerle) December 10, 2018
Will someone ask about Elon Musk saying he doesn't respect the SEC and that the First Amendment prevents the board from reviewing all of his tweets.
Is that the way the SEC interprets the settlement? https://t.co/KJ6sx1jcOj
I know Twitter is fun and people throw about being "addicted" to posting in a hyperbolic way but Elon Musk literally cried on national TV when discussing having his Tweets reviewed.— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 10, 2018
Stacey Ritzen is a reporter and editor based in West Philadelphia with over 10 years' experience covering pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.