Tesla stock falls as CEO appears to smoke marijuana on video

Tesla stock falls as CEO appears to smoke marijuana on video

News of chief accounting officer Dave Morton's departure added to the sense of uncertainty surrounding the company, sending Tesla shares lower in pre-market trading and following a weird interview late Thursday in which chief executive Elon Musk was seen smoking marijuana.

Morton joined the company one day before Musk tweeted that he was considering taking the company private with "funding secured".

Along the way, Musk drew a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which already had been scrutinizing the public pronouncements he's made regarding manufacturing goals and sales targets. Morton stated that "the level of public attention placed on the company" and "the pace within the company" caused him to reconsider his future. Marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in California, where the interview was recorded.

The auto company has struggled to scale up production of its Model 3 sedan, which has been hit by a number of delays, intensifying the pressure on Musk.

Tesla shares ended the day off 6 percent and are at their lowest level since April.

First, about that joint: The toke came in the midst of Musk's appearance on "The Joe Rogan Experience," hosted by Rogan, a stand-up comedian, reality-TV star and martial-arts commentator who's built up a huge following for his video podcast.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On AI, Musk said he would be announcing in a few months a "neurolink" that connects humans with machines.


Tesla's head of human resources, Gabrielle Toledano, who is now on a leave of absence, told Bloomberg News Friday morning that she would not return to Tesla.

Long a polarizing figure because of his swashbuckling style, Musk's champions see him as an entrepreneurial genius with the potential to remake the transportation system, while his detractors see him as an egotistical blowhard whose outsized promises have driven unjustified gains in the company's values.

Tesla is under extreme pressure to turn a sustained net profit starting this quarter, as promised by Mr Musk.

"You probably can't do this because of stockholders, right?", Rogan asked, to which Musk nonchalantly shrugged. "We believe Musk attempted to manipulate the price of Tesla securities with false and misleading tweets, in a directed effort to harm short-sellers". Over 21/2 hours, Musk discussed technology, unsheathed a sword and accepted what Rogan, a stand-up comedian, described as marijuana inside of tobacco.

The company said that Morton gave notice and left the company Tuesday.

"The judgment of the chief executive is coming under scrutiny", said Christopher Sullivan, chief investment officer at United Nations Federal Credit Union.

As the United States exchanges opened on Friday, Tesla's shares had already fallen by 1.4% and by evening that figure swelled to 9%. Over the past year, the company burned through roughly $2.4 billion of cash, with interest expense totaling $577 million, according to the research firm CreditSights.

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