Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley details the latest information surrounding assault claims against Tesla CEO Elon Musk and how that may be affecting the billionaire’s Twitter acquisition deal.
DAVE BRIGGS: All right, Musk Minute. Did SpaceX pay to silence sexual misconduct allegations against Elon Musk? A report from Business Insider says Musk propositioned a flight attendant, exposing himself, and offering to buy her a horse. Insider says Musk’s company paid her $250,000 as part of a severance agreement. Dan Howley here with the Musk response, and Dan, he appears to be laughing this thing off, branding this scandal, hashtag #elongate.
DAN HOWLEY: That’s right, yeah. And he’s basically saying, you know, that that’s the perfect time to use this kind of, I guess, demarcation for his particular scandal at this moment. You know, obviously, it’s a very serious accusation against him. He’s the CEO of three companies, and he wants to buy out Twitter. And you can see kind of the way this is hurting both Tesla, but helping Twitter. Tesla down, let’s see here, 7% at the moment. Twitter up, though, 2.2%.
And, you know, I mean, obviously, the market’s been up and down all day, kind of rebounding towards the end. But if you look at names like Apple, Google, Microsoft, they all are well better off. They’re not losing as hard as something like a Tesla right now, but his replies to this have been rather interesting. At one point, he called this accuser’s friend a liar and said that she should provide information on any kind of scars or tattoos he may have that was never made public, so that she can prove that that happened.
And then he’s also kind of playing this off the Twitter acquisition as well, basically saying that this is some kind of grand scheme against his acquisition or proposed acquisition of the company against him because he had said that he wanted to open the platform up to more speech. So he says the attacks, being they, began brewing. All attacks of all kinds as soon as the Twitter acquisition was announced in my 30-year career, including the entire MeToo era, there’s nothing to report. But as soon as I say I intend to restore free speech to Twitter and vote Republican, suddenly, there is.
And he made that declaration to vote Republican just kind of shortly before these accusations had come out. Now, the whole idea of him opening up Twitter to more speech, that’s been spoken about ad nauseum. Again, that’s Twitter using its own speech when it uses content moderation practices. That literally is free speech. So opening it up to more speech, I mean, that just is really kind of based on what the executives at the company want to post or don’t want to post or don’t want people to have posted.
Obviously, Twitter is now starting to talk about putting more clampdowns on the spread of disinformation regarding attacks like what we saw in Buffalo or natural disasters, things along those lines, anything that’s really a life or death situation. And that’s as this whole Elon Musk thing is going on in the background. So, yeah, at this point, it just, it’s all kind of a jumble of what’s going on. But Elon Musk continues to tweet through it.
SEANA SMITH: Yeah, Dan, it’s kind of confusing, right, when you take a look at how Elon Musk is handling this, because if you were a shareholder of Tesla, you’d be very, very concerned about these types of accusations. But we know that there are people out there, shareholders of Tesla, fans of Tesla, who doesn’t seem like anything that Elon Musk can say or do upsets them. Is this kind of– is this an issue where you think, are we starting to hear the other side? Are we starting to see some of those Tesla diehards, those Tesla bulls change their narrative?
DAN HOWLEY: I mean, look, I was just on Twitter, looking at some of the replies. And a lot of people who are clearly Elon Musk diehards for whatever reason, or Tesla diehards, they seem to back him. So I don’t think that they’re going to fall off I do think, though, if you’re a Tesla owner or prospective Tesla owner, and you see these kinds of accusations against the CEO and him acting this way, you may rethink buying that car.
DAVE BRIGGS: You don’t like to see your stock down 45% year to date, I’ll tell you that. Rachelle, did you have a comment there?
RACHELLE AKUFFO: So I was just going to say, when you look at some of his comments on Twitter, obviously, he said he was going to vote Republican now, but he also, in another tweet, said, look, the preferred ideal is actually to have neither party and have some sort of ideal party in the middle, and saying that another way to promote what happens engagement on Twitter is through anger. So you do have to wonder what the endgame is in all this. What does he actually want at this point?
DAN HOWLEY: I think the going theory is that he’s trying to use this as a means to get out of the Twitter purchase. But, you know, Twitter has said that they’re going to continue forward. He wanted to make this deal. And so they agreed to it, and that they’re going to hold him to that $54.20 a share.
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