Elon Musk is asking the Supreme Court to get rid of his 'Twitter sitter,' arguing it stifles his free speech and is 'unconstitutional'

Elon Musk during his interview at the NYT Dealbook Summit
Elon Musk at the NYT Dealbook Summit.Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk has asked the Supreme Court to undo a settlement requiring him to have a "Twitter sitter."

  • The Tesla boss was sued by the SEC in 2018 over his "funding secured" tweet.

  • He now has to have any posts on X about Tesla approved by a company lawyer.

Elon Musk is asking the Supreme Court to get rid of his "Twitter sitter."

The Tesla boss filed a petition with the court requesting it undo a 2018 settlement with the SEC that requires a company lawyer to vet any posts on X, formerly Twitter, Musk makes about Tesla before he sends them.

The petition, initially reported by CNBC, describes the arrangement, which has become known as the "Twitter sitter" clause, as imposing "unconstitutional conditions" on the tech billionaire by limiting his freedom of speech.


"It restricts Mr. Musk's speech even when truthful and accurate," it reads. "And it chills Mr. Musk's speech through the never-ending threat of contempt, fines, or even imprisonment for otherwise protected speech if not pre-approved to the SEC's or a court's satisfaction."

In 2018, Musk tweeted that he had "funding secured" to potentially take Tesla private at $420 a share. The deal never happened, however, leading to lawsuits from investors and an SEC investigation into whether Musk's tweet was misleading.

Musk ultimately settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay $20 million in fines and step down as chair of Tesla's board.

He later said that the fine was "worth it" — but has proven less willing to accept the "Twitter sitter" clause, claiming that it violates his freedom of speech.

Earlier this year, he lost an appeal against the SEC agreement, with the second circuit court of appeals finding "no evidence to support Musk's contention that the SEC has used the consent decree to conduct bad-faith, harassing investigations of his protected speech."

Musk's unfiltered posting on X has continued to get him into trouble in recent months. The Tesla CEO, who bought the social media site last year for $44 billion, is facing an exodus of advertisers after he called an antisemitic post "the actual truth" in a post on X.

Musk later admitted it was a "foolish" thing to post — but he has since doubled down on his criticism of advertisers, telling them to "go fuck yourselves" in an interview and attacking Disney CEO Bob Iger in a series of posts.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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