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Elon Musk is having a rough summer and his impulsive tweets are partly to blame. The CEO of the electric car company Tesla and the private aerospace company SpaceX recently conducted an hourlong phone interview with journalists at the New York Times, and he talked about his Aug. 7 tweet in which he declared that he was “considering taking Tesla private.” The tweet, which Musk told the Times that “no one had seen or reviewed before he posted it,” caused Tesla’s shares to rise. It also caused Musk a lot of trouble.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
According to the Times’ story, which was published on Thursday, Musk “agreed not to tweet again about the possible privatization deal unless he had discussed it” with Tesla’s board. The Securities and Exchange Commission subpoenaed Tesla following the tweet. Still, Musk told the Times that he doesn’t regret the tweet. He also wants everyone to know that he was not “on weed” when he sent the tweet. “Weed is not helpful for productivity,” he told the Times.
The 47-year-old was very, very candid about other aspects of his life in the interview. According to the Times, he got emotional during the call and at one point “alternated between laughter and tears.” He vented about working long hours—including on his birthday—taking Ambien, and nearly missing his brother’s wedding. It appears that Musk is still dating 30-year-old musician Grimes, but he didn’t mention her in the interview, or the drama with the couple and Azealia Banks over the weekend.
Musk, ever the modest tech titan, concluded the interview by saying that he had no plans to let someone else run Tesla—unless there’s someone who can do the job better than him. “[I]f you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know,” he told the Times. “They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better?”
But on Friday, the Associated Press was reporting in a tweet that Tesla shares were dropping and the S.E.C investigation was getting larger “amid questions of CEO Musk’s ability to run [the] company.”
BREAKING: Tesla shares drop 6 percent after reports of widening SEC probe and amid questions of CEO Musk's ability to run company .— The Associated Press (@AP) August 17, 2018
Musk’s revealing interview, and the subsequent reports about Tesla, gave the internet a lot of material for jokes and reactions.
What happens next...— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 17, 2018
1) Board kicks Musk out of Tesla
2) Musk uses Tesla technology to become supervillain
3) Spider-Man battles Musk to save Gwen Stacy
Elon Musk: Im so tired working 120 Hours.... LETS BORE SOME TUNNELS!!! FLAMETHROWERS!!!!!— Realist (@TeslaAgnostic) August 17, 2018
Obviously, the “on weed” comment seemed to be everyone’s favorite part of the interview.
Elon Musk, thank u pic.twitter.com/ZOkXVAEhgA— Robert Wheel (@BobbyBigWheel) August 17, 2018
elon musk is definitely someone who is "on weed" pic.twitter.com/9UtvcCSkvX— sandra song (@sndrsng) August 17, 2018
say what you will about elon musk, but the guy absolutely nails what what it feels like to be on weed pic.twitter.com/GcVVouVDfN— maureen (@momonahan) August 17, 2018
Musk has yet to tweet about the Times interview. But given his love of using the social media service, we suspect that he’ll vocalize more opinions about Tesla on Twitter soon enough.
Tiffany Kelly is the Unclick editor at Daily Dot. Previously, she worked at Ars Technica and Wired. Her writing has appeared in several other print and online publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Popular Mechanics, and GQ.