The continuation of Elon Musk’s sidelines; The marginalizing tweet was the result of drug use
Elon Musk’s controversial 2018 tweet hinting at taking Tesla private was written under the influence of drugs.
In 2018, Elon Musk, who was still Tesla’s chairman, shocked shareholders when he announced on Twitter that he “plans to take Tesla private for $420”; Because code 420 refers to marijuana. Following up on that tweet, Musk added, “Funding done.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, members of Tesla’s board of directors were concerned that Musk might have tweeted under the influence of drugs.
Contrary to previous reports that claimed Tesla’s CEO raised the issue of taking his company private with the board a week before the tweet was published, the new report suggests that uninformed board members were taken aback by Musk’s message.
It is now clear that some Tesla board members privately expressed concern over Musk’s tweets that year and asked him to take a mandatory leave of absence.
Following the tweet, Musk said in an interview with The New York Times that leading Tesla was “overwhelming” and that last year had been the “hardest and most painful year” of his career. The interview also included a report that Tesla’s board was concerned about Musk’s use of zolpidem (a sleeping pill) and whether that could be related to his late-night tweets.
Sources familiar with the matter told the Journal that Musk may also have been “under the influence” during the New York Times interview, adding that Tesla’s communications team didn’t even know he was planning to interview a reporter.
Musk has said he doesn’t like taking illegal drugs, but the billionaire billionaire is said to have used drugs like small doses of ketamine to treat depression. Musk has taken LSD several times at a Los Angeles party he hosted, and psychedelic mushrooms in 2019 in Mexico.
Maybe drug use is common among Silicon Valley power players; But illegal drug use is a cause for concern for someone like Musk, whose rocket company SpaceX relies on billions of dollars in government contracts.
According to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, companies are required to comply with the drug-free workplace law to receive these contracts.
The 2018 tweet had its consequences. The US Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating Musk’s statements and filed a lawsuit that resulted in a $40 million fine. Also, while Tesla appointed two independent directors to its board, Musk agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman.