Everyone’s favorite billionaire is back in the news.
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk appeared in a 60 Minutes interview this weekend covering a wide range of topics including recent labor complaints at Tesla and his replacement for chairman of the board.
But perhaps no subject was more revealing than Musk’s comments on his (often antagonistic) use of Twitter, the social network that cost him the Tesla chairman position as part of a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
It was during this part of the 60 Minutes interview that Musk made clear exactly what he thinks of the independent federal agency.
“Have you had any of your tweets censored since the settlement?” asks 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl, slowly wading into the topic of his peculiar behavior on Twitter.
“No,” responds Musk. “The only tweets that would have to be reviewed is if a tweet had a probability of causing a movement in the stock.”
Stahl, trying to make sense of his dismissive response, follows up with another question: “But how do they know if it’s going to move the market if they’re not reading all of them before you send them?”
“I guess we might make some mistakes,” he says.
“Are you serious?” Stahl responds, laughing at his answer.
“Nobody’s perfect.” Musk says, giggling to himself. Then, in no uncertain terms, Musk says exactly what he thinks of the government agency responsible for enforcing the federal securities laws.
“I want to be clear,” he says. “I do not respect the SEC. I do not respect them.”
Of course, Musk has plenty of reason to be annoyed with the federal agency. The SEC required Musk to step down as Tesla chairman and pay $40 million in penalties as part of a settlement reached in September during a fraud investigation where he was accused of making “false and misleading tweets.”
The tweet under investigation was one where Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private and added that he had “funding secured.” The tweet sent Tesla’s stock soaring.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
Musk later explained he intended to take the company private because it would shield Tesla from short-sellers, or, in other words, investors betting that the stock price would fall. The company also published a blog post titled “Taking Tesla Private,” authored by Musk.
The eccentric founder explained in the blog post that he’d been in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and was confident of his proposed price of $420 per share. But of course, none of this mattered in the long run, as Musk stepped down as chairman and paid the fine. In the end, Musk said the penalties were “worth it.” We can only wonder how he feels about his hostile comments during his 60 Minutes interview.
WATCH: DJ Khaled Talks With Ty Dolla $ign at the Red Carpet Pre-Show