A group of disgruntled Telsa investors have taken problematic entrepreneur and founder Elon Musk to court, again, this time attempting to curtail his use of social media platform Twitter.
The suit was filed in the Delaware Chancery Court last week, with the plaintiff being the Laborers’ District Council and Contractors’ Pension Fund of Ohio, reports Bloomberg.
The claim cites Musk’s recent “repeated misstatements” about electric car manufacturer Telsa on Twitter, which Musk is the founder and chief executive of, and looks to permanently block Musk’s “unchecked use of Twitter to make inaccurate statements about the company”.
In short: ‘log off, Elon’.
The claim itself, represented by law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, isn’t likely to surprise anyone, as Musk has made a number of bad tweets in recent times, some of which have left him with bigger problems than a claim in Delaware’s state court.
Last year, the notoriously divisive startup founder stepped down as Tesla chairman and paid the SEC a $20 million fine after he tweeted he was considering taking Tesla private if shares hit a certain price level. He also signed an agreement with the regulator which forbade him from sharing information via Twitter which would be deemed of material interest to investors without prior approval.
However, the SEC recently sought to hold Musk in contempt after he allegedly breached that agreement in a series of tweets in February, where he speculated that Tesla would produce 500,000 cars in 2019.
Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 20, 2019
“Mr. Musk has continually disregarded all efforts to rein in his material misstatements on social media. He has ignored federal court orders, a settlement with the SEC, and even his company’s own corporate policies expressly requiring that any of his tweets regarding Tesla be pre-screened,” claimed Grant & Eisenhofer director Michael Barry in a statement.
“His conduct has not only cost Tesla shareholders dearly but threatens to expose the company to even greater liability and litigation in the future.”
“For its part, the Board of Directors has been completely ineffective, and in fact, Tesla still identifies Mr. Musk’s personal Twitter account as a source of official disclosures by the company. It has to stop.”
The suit is seeking a declaratory judgment that Musk and Tesla’s board breached their fiduciary duty over the Twitter posts, and shareholders are also seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages.
Musk is now facing three separate lawsuits over his Twitter use, which would be enough to make any reasonable person delete their account and never look back. However, Musk has never been one to shy away from making inflammatory, offensive, and outrageous statements on Twitter, including the time he baselessly called a rescuer in the Thai cave disaster a ‘pedo’.
Musk is currently fighting to have the case thrown out, claiming the comments (where he literally labelled the man as a “pedo guy”, and then doubled down on it when questioned) were free speech, “imaginative attacks”, and a “schoolyard spat on social media”.
We’ve asked it once, and we’ll ask it again: is it time to stop idolising entrepreneurs like Elon Musk?