Elon Musk said in court on Monday that his sense of humour gave Tesla free press.
Musk appeared in the Delaware Court of Chancery on Monday to defend Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, a solar panels company, in 2016. The case is brought by Tesla shareholders, who allege the deal amounted to a bailout of SolarCity and benefitted Musk, who owned a 22% stake in the solar-panel company at the time.
The plaintiffs’ attorney Randall Baron asked Musk about his decision in March to officially change his title at Tesla to include “Technoking.” The AP reported that Baron used the title change to claim Musk’s management style was controlling.
Musk replied that the title change was a joke – and that he thought his sense of humor was good for Tesla. “It generated a whole bunch of free press and Tesla doesn’t advertise and it’s helpful to general sales,” he said, per Reuters.
“If we are entertaining people, they would write stories about us and we don’t have to spend on advertising which would reduce the price of our cars,” Musk said, per Bloomberg.
“I think I’m funny,” Musk added.
The Tesla CEO appeared as a host on sketch-comedy show“Saturday Night Live” in May, and made a cameo in animated sci-fi comedy “Rick and Morty” in 2019.
Musk said during Baron’s cross-examination that he “rather hates” being CEO of Tesla and would rather spend his time on design and engineering – but that the company would “die” without him.
CNBC reported that the trial is expected to last roughly two weeks. If the court rules against Musk, he could be liable for up to $2.6 billion.
According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Musk’s net worth is estimated at about $187 billion.