Musk attacks the SEC
The mercurial CEO did not hold back against the SEC, which charged Musk with securities fraud in 2018 after he posted “misleading tweets” about wanting to take Tesla private, infamously saying that he had “funding secured” for the deal. As part of a settlement, Musk agreed to step down as Tesla chairman and pay $40 million in penalties.
Speaking about the settlement on Thursday, Musk said, “So I was forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully, those bastards, and now it makes it look like I lied when I did not in fact lie.”
He specifically criticized the SEC’s San Francisco office, saying that the agency “knew that funding was secured, but they pursued an active public investigation nonetheless.” He explained that Tesla “was in a precarious financial situation” and that his bankers told him if he didn’t agree to a settlement “the banks would cease providing working capital and Tesla would go bankrupt immediately.”
“So that’s like having a gun to your child’s head.”
Life with Asperger’s syndrome
Musk discussed his life having Asperger’s syndrome, which he revealed in May 2021 while hosting Saturday Night Live.
“I think everyone’s experience is going to be somewhat different, but I guess for me, the social cues were not intuitive, so I was just very bookish, and I didn’t understand this, I guess,” Musk said.
While “others could sort of intuitively understand what is meant by something,” Musk said that he “would just tend to take things very literally as just like, the words that are spoken were exactly what they meant.”
It took him some time to understand the nuances of human communication, he explained.
“So I was bullied quite a lot,” Musk said. “So I didn’t have a, sort of a happy childhood.”
“To be frank, it was quite, quite rough,” he added.