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Death by Twitter: The Elon Musk Edition

A lot can happen from a single tweet. Political wars, record-breaking chicken nuggets, and most recently the  major upset of one of the most controversial automotive companies since Hennessy “produced” their Venom GT. On August 7th of 2018, Tesla’s chairman and CEO Elon Musk tweeted; “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” The results consisted of blindsided investors, legal action from the S.E.C. (Securities and Exchange Commission), a 12% drop in share price, a $20,000,000 dollar fine, and a resignation letter from Musk himself.

The S.E.C.’s lawsuit against Elon Musk relates to his Aug. 7 Twitter post in which he said he had “funding secured” to convert Tesla into a private company. Credit: Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The tweet was the final straw for various employees, investors, and outsiders that had already had enough with Musk. Earlier in the year, Musk was invited to a radio show where he was offered marijuana; surprisingly, Musk took the blunt and smoked a small amount, however, without ingesting the marijuana into his lungs.

The internet took that clip and ran with it; soon after becoming popular on nearly every secondary news service, facebook article, and meme page. To most people, Musk taking a small dose of marijuana was a horrifying beginning to the decline of Musk’s reputation; to various people in the marijuana industry, the event was hardly anything that the internet made it appear to be.

There are debates over whether the fine and resignation was a necessary punishment for Musk, or if it was too much for a tweet and a viral video. Joshua Jacques, a senior, had stated; “That’s pretty nuts actually. They overreacted way too much, but hey, it’s the internet.”  Jacques’ plays the stock market a bit and recently invested in a stock which produced misleading comments and illegal notifications to their shareholders, which resulted in a shocking plummet in the share price. So his experience makes him especially focused on and disappointed by Musk’s misleading tweet.

With the internet being a conglomerate of hundreds of millions of ideas and opinions, it’s to be expected that the video and tweet from such a powerful player would create a stir. Cove Beaudoin, a senior, who admires Musk and describes him as “a cool genius and a living meme” said, “he definitely should not have tweeted that, but at the same time he shouldn’t have gotten a $20,000,000 dollar fine and forced to resign.”

Another senior, Tom Philbrook said, “I don’t think the $20,000,000 fine was necessary, but some form of repercussion was necessary, just not to that degree.”

Much of the Musk scandal plays into differing views regarding pot use which is now legal for recreational use in 9 states and for medical use in 31, and still hotly debated. To readers who do not know much or associate with the drug, that video was a horror to watch; a multi-billionaire owner of some of the US’ best companies smoking a partially-illegal drug while on a radio talk show AND on camera was something that was thought to be appalling. To many who have any experience in the marijuana department, however, it was just another normal day, especially considering how it was only one “hit” and Musk did not appear to ingest the marijuana into his lungs.

Elon Musk inspecting his “vessel for disaster” during his radio interview on Sept. 6, 2018

Elon Musk has been known to take financial and economical risks; during the introduction of the Tesla Model S, Musk used nearly every single dollar that the company had in order to allow the company to survive and the product to be introduced and produced. Although it worried the investors and drove the critics insane, it worked. Musk did the same for his other companies, such as SpaceX. (He did so by making nearly every single part himself and completely changing the market for space contracts with NASA and other government ideas) Other companies that Musk had a major role in, such as Zip2, PayPal, SolarCity, and now The Boring Company have proven to other entrepreneurs that risk equals reward, if you do it right. The downside to Musk’s “risk all” mentality is that Musk applies it to everything, even how social media sees Musk and his companies.

One Comment

  1. Margot Margot May 11, 2019

    Very nice article. I definitely appreciate this site. Keep it up!

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