Tesla CEO Elon Musk quoted popular rapper Eminem in a recent response to the SEC’s investigation of his 2021 tweets over potential market manipulation. Musk has sought to negate a 2018 agreement with the regulator that requires some of his tweets to be preapproved by an attorney.
In a document filed with a federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, the Tesla CEO responded to an SEC investigation into his November tweets, where he opened a poll over selling 10% of his stake in Tesla. The move had caused Tesla’s stock price to crash that week.
The Tesla CEO also challenged an SEC ruling that required certain tweets to be overlooked by the electric carmaker’s lawyers. The ruling was made in 2018 after Musk mulled taking the company private in a series of now infamous tweets.
Elon Musk cites the First Amendment
In Tuesday’s filing, the Tesla CEO said that requiring his tweets to be preapproved was unconstitutional, and violated the First Amendment by blocking his freedom of speech, Reuters reported.
“The (SEC) won’t let me be or let me be me so let me see; They tried to shut me down,” Musk said in the filing, referencing Eminem’s song “Without Me.” The 2002 song had called out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for fining radio stations airing Eminem’s hit song “The Real Slim Shady,” on the grounds that it was offensive.
Musk had paid $20 million in fines to the SEC over his 2018 tweets, with Tesla paying a similar amount. He had also stepped down as the Tesla board chairman.
In addition to the regulatory scrutiny, Musk’s tweets have drawn ire from investors over the potential market manipulation. His 2021 tweets also attracted several lawsuits from Tesla shareholders.
Musk’s crypto tweets also move the market
The Tesla CEO is an active voice in the crypto community, and holds Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Dogecoin (DOGE). His tweets have caused wild swings in crypto markets, while his interest in DOGE has earned him the moniker “The Dogefather.”
But Musk’s crypto tweets, while market-moving, have not earned him the same degree of regulatory scrutiny as his stock tweets. This is likely because the SEC lacks the comprehensive regulatory framework to bring crypto under its wing.
But several crypto participants have derided Musk for causing unnecessary volatility in the market. The regulatory oversight of Musk’s tweets could also change as more crypto regulation is introduced in the United States.