Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary praised Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s bid for left-wing platform Twitter, ripping the company for censoring views and board members for being ineffective and in need of firing.
O’Leary told Andrew Sorkin, co-anchor CNBC’s Squawk Box, that Twitter “is the most miserable investment you could have put your dollars into in social media. It has totally lagged all its other competitors.”
Musk, though, would provide the weak-performing company a way out, the investor said.
“The best way to look at this is, you gave them a decade, why not get the whacking stick out and just start all over again?” O’Leary proposed. “And that’s what Elon Musk is proposing.”
“The biggest risk for shareholders here, whether you believe in the free speech issue or not, is if Musk goes away,” the businessman warned. “Then they’re back in the same miserable place they are now. … When you start to try and figure out who should have a voice and who shouldn’t, you’re stepping on the basic principles of free speech in America. And that really doesn’t sit well with a majority of the population.”
Sorkin pushed back on O’Leary being a proponent of free speech principles, repeatedly bringing up pornography and snuff films, ignoring the censorship of so-called “fringe views” or social media-deemed “misinformation.”
“The cost of free speech, the cost to society, is allowing the lunatic fringe to have a voice,” O’Leary responded. “And that’s always been the case, back to when they were writing newspapers by hand. You gotta get over that, Andrew.”
The investor wasn’t done yet, he closed the segment by boosting Musk’s bid for the company and calling for Twitter board members to be “fired.”
“It’s horrific what this company has done to their shareholders. I weep like a baby for them. I wouldn’t touch this stock,” he said. “However, if Elon Musk gave me a piece of the deal … I’d back him because of executional performance on everything he touches.”
“The rest of this board and those employees have done a horrifically bad job,” he added. “I think they should be fired.”
For Musk’s part, the tech billionaire seems to be completely serious about his intention to buy Twitter and take the company private — if the Twitter board cooperates or not.
For example, Musk disclosed Thursday morning that he has received commitment letters for $46.5 billion in funding to purchase Twitter, and is eyeing a workaround via a tender offer since the Twitter board has been unresponsive to the billionaire.