Today’s installment of “This Week in Elon” sees the Tesla CEO appear on the top-rated Joe Rogan Experience podcast and partake in drug consumption that’s legal in the state in which it was filmed. One hopes Musk didn’t pile into his Model S afterwards and drive away while baked.
Normally, what happens in an executive’s private life remains private until it hits the papers ahead of an impending trial, or perhaps fills the pages of a tell-all bestseller. This being Musk, however, questionable antics seem to occur all the time, usually in a public forum, and shareholders, analysts, and no doubt the company’s board aren’t too pleased with it.
It’s not on the same level as Lee Iacocca showing up on the Merv Griffin Show and railing a line of blow, but Musk’s podcast appearance, combined with two high-profile departures, sent Tesla shares tumbling.
Looking like an awkward, straight-laced teenager who dreams of fitting in with the in-crowd, 47-year-old Musk toked on a hefty joint fired up by the show’s host during the Thursday night live broadcast. Rogan informed Musk, who already had a glass of whiskey going, that the joint contained — what else — marijuana, mixed with tobacco.
“I’m not a regular smoker of weed,” Musk said on the live broadcast, claiming the single puff had no effect on him. The two sweaty men then put the joint away and went on with the show. When trading opened Friday morning, Tesla shares plummeted nearly 10 percent, rebounding to a price of $267.52 at midday, or 4.8 percent lower than the previous day’s close.
It’s not just the Joe Rogan weedfest that has investors losing sleep. Last week, the CEO got into it with a BuzzFeed reporter over the topic of the litigious British cave diver Musk can’t stop alluding to as a pedophile. The reporter then published the combative email exchange. Today brings news (via Bloomberg) that Tesla’s “chief people officer,” Gaby Toledano, isn’t returning to the company after taking a leave of absence in late August.
At the same time, Tesla’s chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, signalled in a filing (also obtained by Bloomberg) that he intends to leave the company, less than a month after coming aboard.
“Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” Morton said, adding, “This caused me to reconsider my future.”
All of this comes after an aborted attempt by Musk to take the company private, using funding that apparently was not at all secured. “Imagined” would be a better word. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund, mentioned by Musk as a potential (and likely) source of funding, reportedly balked at the idea of becoming more involved with the automaker. A rumor that Volkswagen was interested in backing the deal turned out to be hot air. VW chief financial officer Frank Witter told Bloomberg TV that the auto giant never considered becoming an investor, and wasn’t approached about the matter, either.
If all of this wasn’t enough, Tesla admitted this week that it missed a production target for the Model 3 sedan. The automaker stated its plan, two months ago, to reach a weekly output of 6,000 Model 3s per week, but that target went unmet.
It was one month ago today that Musk issued his fateful go-private tweet that landed him in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as a handful of angry investors. Since then, Tesla’s share price has fallen by nearly 30 percent, erasing billions from the company’s valuation.
And some industry observers have the nerve to question Musk’s leadership…
[Image: JRE Clips/YouTube]