Twitter is suing Elon Musk for trying to get out of his $44 billion contract to buy the company—and in a classic Musk story, his own terrible tweets are being used against him, including an infamous poo emoji tweet directed at Twitter’s CEO.
Since joining the platform in 2009, Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has risen through the ranks past the rest of us regular users to become the king shitposter of Twitter. Not content to simply post, however, he’s been making a bumbling run at buying the company since April in a process that’s been part hostile takeover, part petty feud.
Last week, Musk announced that he intends to withdraw from the $44 billion deal to acquire the company, claiming that Twitter is “in material breach of multiple provisions” of their contract. Twitter is suing Musk because, according to its complaint, he “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.” After the announcement of the deal, multiple senior executives at Twitter left the company and its stock took a nosedive. In May, he said the deal was on hold (via tweet, of course), after taking issue with the way Twitter calculated how many “spam bots” are on the platform. Hours later, he tweeted that he was “still committed to acquisition.”
Twitter’s complaint, filed on Tuesday, is 62 pages of burns, quips, and allegations against Musk that bring up how his public behavior on the very platform he was trying to buy destroyed its value. Throughout the complaint, Twitter’s lawyers include screenshots and text from Musk’s own tweets. His public statements about spam bots come up in a section of Twitter’s complaint titled “Musk grasps for an out,” where Twitter embedded a screenshot of his April tweet, “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
Musk has been weirdly obsessed with spam bots on Twitter for a long time, so much so that he brought it up in an April press release announcing the agreement, saying one of the goals of buying the company was to “make Twitter better than ever” by “defeating the spam bots” (among other equally non-plausible things, like “authenticating all humans”).
Twitter claims in the complaint that following a May 13 diligence meeting with Musk, immediately after the meeting, he tweeted “a misrepresentation that Twitter’s sample size for spam estimates was just 100.” Then, boldly tweeting through it as none have tweeted through it before, he tweeted that “Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100! This actually happened.”
Parag Agrawal tweeted a thread about how the company fights spam, and Musk replied with a poop emoji. That’s also in the complaint as an example of a “disparaging” tweet; Twitter claims that part of their contract, “Musk may so Tweet only ‘so long as such Tweets do not disparage the Company or any of its Representatives.’”
As of this week, he’s still attempting to tweet through the pain with memes about the lawsuit, which also get a mention in the complaint: “Musk posted Tweets implying that his data requests were never intended to make progress toward consummating the merger, but rather were part of a plan to force litigation in which Twitter’s information would be publicly disclosed.”
“For Musk, it would seem, Twitter, the interests of its stockholders, the transaction Musk agreed to, and the court process to enforce it all constitute an elaborate joke,” Twitter’s complaint states.
Musk is constantly tweeting himself into varying degrees of trouble, but there have been a few times where this impulse to log on has gotten him into deep legal shit. In 2018, he tweeted that he could take Tesla private at $420 per share, and the SEC sued him for making misleading claims; Musk and Tesla settled, paying $40 million total to harmed investors. And in 2019, he was sued for defamation in federal court by cave diver Vernon Unsworth, for tweets calling him a “pedo guy” over a disagreement about rescue submarines.