The ugly death of Twitter at the hands of a clown


Some of us are trying to make ends meet. Some of us are worrying about how we can afford retirement. Some of us are looking at medical bills and weeping. But not Elon Musk! He’s the what-me-worry kid. He borrowed billions for an impulsive purchase of Twitter, and he’s not worried at all about his rather desperate situation.

With interest on his loans totaling over $150m/month and a company grossing $5B before screwing it all up and chasing the advertisers out, Twitter’s reluctant purchaser Elon Musk seems to be running out of options.

He’s bleeding $150 million every month on just the interest payments? On a company he is visibly mismanaging? In his shoes (his brightly-colored, oversized clown shoes), I’d be a wreck. I’d be worried about all the employees I was letting down, and how I’d meet operating costs, let alone the interest. But not Elon! He has a plan!

To cut costs, Twitter has not paid rent for its San Francisco headquarters or any of its global offices for weeks, three people close to the company said. Twitter has also refused to pay a $197,725 bill for private charter flights made the week of Mr. Musk’s takeover, according to a copy of a lawsuit filed in New Hampshire District Court and obtained by The New York Times.

Twitter’s leaders have also discussed the consequences of denying severance payments to thousands of people who have been laid off since the takeover, two people familiar with the talks said. And Mr. Musk has threatened employees with lawsuits if they talk to the media and “act in a manner contrary to the company’s interest,” according to an internal email sent last Friday.

The aggressive moves signal that Mr. Musk is still slashing expenditures and is bending or breaking Twitter’s previous agreements to make his mark. His reign has been characterized by chaos, a series of resignations and layoffs, reversals of the platform’s previous suspensions and rules, and capricious decisions that have driven away advertisers.

Whoa, you can do that? I could just refuse to make our mortgage payments or skip out on our credit card bill? That would free up a whole lot of money that I could spend on fun stuff.

I think, though, that at some point the law would catch up with me, and I’d be evicted or forced to meet my contractual obligations or maybe even be arrested and jailed. Could that happen to the second richest man in the world? Probably not, because the world is not just. We’ll have to settle for watching his reputation get flushed away.

Comments

  1. wzrd1 says

    Naw, he’ll declare a Trumpian victory by declaring bankruptcy and screwing his creditors and investors.
    Who will gleefully chip in to foot the bill for his next windmill tilt.

  2. says

    I have some experience with situations like this. Maybe I could get some kind of high-paying consultant job there.
    First, when the landlord shows up, just turn off the lights and pretend you’re not there.

    I’d be worried about all the employees I was letting down,

    That kind of thinking, sir, is why you’re not rich.

  3. Artor says

    If you owe the bank a million dollars, you’re in a lot of trouble. If you owe the bank a billion dollars, the bank is in a lot of trouble. I don’t think Musk’s creditors realized what they were getting into, but I don’t see anyone lending him money ever again, unless they are also irresponsible lunatics like him.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    And Mr. Musk has threatened employees with lawsuits if they talk to the media and “act in a manner contrary to the company’s interest,” according to an internal email sent last Friday.

    Musk’s bold plan to shore up the finances of Twitter begins to emerge: The company is going to sue the second richest man in the world.

  5. raven says

    That is not even all of what Elon Musk has done in the last two days to destroy Twitter.

    He has also kicked Ukraine out of Twitter.
    No new accounts can be created from Ukaine because Twitter now doesn’t permit Ukrainian phone numbers, needed to set up accounts.

    Musk has been heading toward pro-Russia and pro-Ukrainian genocide for a while. He seems to be a huge fan of vandalism for the sake of vandalism and watching a nation, ethnic group, and culture get destroyed must be his idea of fun.

    Tweet
    Michael MacKay @mhmck
    Twitter has removed the UA two-letter country code for Ukraine from two-factor authentication.

    Ukraine has disappeared from Elon Musk’s virtual map of the world.

    The effect of this change is to reduce the presence of pro-Ukrainian, pro-democracy voices on this platform.
    5:49 PM · Dec 13, 2022

    There is a possibility that this is a bug in Twitter and not deliberate. Somehow, that Musk doesn’t like Ukraine and Ukraine is out of Twitter seems a bit improbable to be coincidence.

  6. jo1storm says

    Elon Musk, a living example (one of many unfortunately) for why billionaires shouldn’t exist.

  7. raven says

    There might be a plan here.

    By not paying Twitter bills and employees, Musk is setting Twitter up for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    In Chapter 11, Twitter has a lot of room to reorganize.
    That is what Chapter 11 is for.

    Then again, there might not be a plan.
    Musk is an attention seeker and an adrenaline junkie.
    This could all be vandalism for the sake of vandalism.

    The Twitter buyout was done partially using OPM, Other People’s Money. $13 billion in bank loans and $4 billion in private investment.
    The OPMs have to be not very happy right now, watching their billions of dollars vaporize on the internet on Twitter in Real Time.

  8. hemidactylus says

    I’m hesitant to say reports of Twitter’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. I’ll believe it when I see it. People piling on over the white rabbit tweet made me step back and wonder if he’s getting too much undue and obsessive attention, which feeds into his egoistic need for relevance. I want him to fall into a festering cesspit of alt-right hell alongside JP, but won’t be holding my breath. Dwelling on him too much is IMO a bad space to be, though the schadenfreude will be tasty. I try to steer clear of too much JP hatewatching too. Happier things to do with my time.

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 6

    Doesn’t goo far enough.

    Elon Musk, a living example (one of many unfortunately) for why billionaires millionaires shouldn’t exist.

    FTFY.

  10. drsteve says

    Does anyone here know what Peter Thiel has been up to the last couple months? I have a hunch that that’s the best direction to look for clues about what the next phase of Elon’s Folly looks like. Does Thiel finally hang his buddy out to dry, or double down and use his resources to help salvage this piece of their shared political agenda?

  11. says

    He’ll survive and wealthier than before just like the guy who destroyed K-Mart and the person who almost destroyed Penny’s. In this world they survive and are wealthier than ever and the rest of us are just screwed over.

  12. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    Here’s the thing. Due to the crazy way corporate take-overs work, the money Musk borrowed is actually owed by Twitter. So Musk’s only real risk is the money he borrowed.

    Further, by ignoring lease payments and other of Twitter’s normal liabilities in favor of making payments on the loans he took out, those lenders effectively jump the line and get money they wouldn’t get during bankruptcy proceedings. So he’s effectively stealing money from all of Twitter’s other debtors to pay back his lenders.

  13. silvrhalide says

    @3 Muskrat will get loans from the same Russian oligarchs who financed Chump’s other financial follies and for the same reason: no American bank will give him a loan.

    Or maybe not, since a lot of Russian oligarch assets were seized when Putin invaded Ukraine. That’s gotta sting. Not all the assets were seized or even most. But the oligarchs have less spare $$$ than they used to have, which might make them more cautious about throwing some of what they have left away on an attention-seeking asshole. At least some of them must be hoarding resources for their escape route/golden parachute.

  14. Rich Woods says

    And Mr. Musk has threatened employees with lawsuits if they talk to the media and “act in a manner contrary to the company’s interest,”

    As though we needed further proof that he’s a hypocritical arsehole.

  15. says

    Are any of Husk’s lenders or backers voicing any concerns about this situation? Does anyone know if he’s paying any of that interest on schedule, or if anyone is taking any action to make him pay? The only complaints I’m hearing are from Twitter users and ex-users, and spectators like us; which reinforces my conclusion that everything we’re seeing is exactly what Husk’s backers want to see. They’re not buying Twitter to make any profit from it, they’re buying it to destroy it, if for different reasons (Husk for spite, the others to undermine a platform used by dissenters and opponents of the status quo).

  16. billseymour says

    Somewhat related:  I heard on DW News this afternoon that some folks in Ethopia are suing Facebook for failure to take down death threats for a university professor who was eventually killed.  I can’t remember the details.

    It turns out that yet another social media platform has fired a bunch of its content moderators, thus making way for lots of hatefullness in general and racism in particular.

  17. JimB says

    Whoa, you can do that? I could just refuse to make our mortgage payments or skip out on our credit card bill? That would free up a whole lot of money that I could spend on fun stuff.

    Umm. PZ. You actually can do that. Note that that does not mean there won’t be consequences…

    Went to buy a house in 1990, Everything was going great until it just stops and they want to know about this loan my wife hadn’t payed off 10 years before. Had to track down the current owner of note and pay it off. In the end only cost about 50% of what she had walked away from.

    Also, if you get a traffic ticket in another state, if you pay it that might effect your insurance rate and get you points. But nothing happens if you don’t pay it. Just be aware that you should NEVER GO TO THAT STATE AGAIN! Seriously. Never.

    If you do get pulled over in that state again, they might not have any cells in their local jail. Just a ring embedded in the wall. And they hook the other end of the handcuff to it. And you sit there and wait, till somebody brings the cash. Cause they won’t take a check…*

    So yea, you can walk away from all kinds of debts. But it’s best to move to another state. But not the one you got the ticket in…

    *not me, but a friend of mine

  18. jo1storm says

    @raven
    The scary thing is that twitter would have been better with a golden retriever as a CEO instead of Musk. Or Wilson the Volleyball.

  19. rietpluim says

    Image the world run by people as evil as Elon but actually competent. It would make WW II look like a picnic.

  20. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I have the urge to link a certain Dave Davies single from the late 60s, but that would be mean to poor Elon, so…

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