Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been branded “Mr. Tweet” in court during a trial.
The billionaire returned to a federal court in San Francisco Monday for a battle with Tesla investors over a 2018 tweet.
Tesla shareholders claim that Musk manipulated the company’s stock with a 2018 tweet declaring that he had “funding secured” for a deal to take Tesla private at $420 per share.
That tweet has already resulted in a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement and $20 million fine for Musk. But the Tesla investors who held shares in the days following the infamous tweet—which led to wild fluctuations in the stock price as the purported deal failed to materialize—alleged that Musk acted recklessly and collectively cost them billions.
The SpaceX owner, who took on the new nickname Chief Twit by his own volition, told a lawyer on Monday that his new moniker, Mr. Tweet, is “probably an accurate description,” according to Puck News reporter Teddy Schleifer, who covers Silicon Valley.
Before the trial, prospective jurors had to submit a questionnaire that asked for their views of Tesla and Musk—and the responses were a mix of insults and confessions of admiration of the CEO’s public image.
”He’s arrogant as I see it; I know he’s a genius,” one responded when asked to articulate his views of Musk on Jan. 17. “I think since the Twitter thing started my views have become more negative.”
Throughout the jury selection, candidates described Musk as “arrogant,” “talented but crazy,” “off his rocker” and, more plainly, “he sucks.” Another described him as a “smart, successful pioneer.”
The trial continues.
Joe Burn can be reached at [email protected]