Potential Tesla ‘Whistleblower’ Martin Tripp Exits Twitter on Lawyer’s Advice

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Martin Tripp has been in the spotlight over the past several weeks for reportedly maligning Tesla Inc. with accusations of misleading investors and putting its Model 3 buyers at risk. Today, his exit from Twitter was cause for much speculation, but his lawyer has posted via the microblogging social media site that Tripp’s account being taken down was Tripp’s own choice rather than Twitter’s decision.

The confusion seems to have arisen because of the tweetstorm this week that supposedly leaked Elon Musks’s email ID, which is a violation of Twitter’s terms and conditions. Subsequent to that particular tweet, Tripp’s account was blocked with a 12-hour suspension, but not taken down. Tripp told Gizmodo earlier today that he received a warning from Twitter about not publishing or posting “other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission.”

Meanwhile, Fortune and other media outlets reported the suspension, which was shortly before Tripp took down his own page, per his lawyer’s clarifications on…where else, but Twitter.

The legal showdown has now entered the social battlefield, with Tripp’s lawyer posting several of his anti-Tesla and anti-Musk content on his own Twitter account.

He’s even gone so far as to predict resignations from Tesla’s board members subsequent to Musk’s go-private announcement and the Saudi funding story.

The courts and SEC have remained silent on the issues raised by Tripp and his lawyer, and it remains to be seen what the actual outcome might be. This is a critical time for Tesla as it pushes its Model 3 agenda. It is also a critical time for Musk as he steers his juggernaut personality and all the baggage it comes with through the tumultuous waters of taking a public company private.

It’s almost reminiscent of Michael Dell back in the day when he took Dell Technologies private. In Dell’s case, they were profitable when the go-private deal was first revealed, but profits were flagging because their own products weren’t doing well, and Microsoft had launched Windows 8, which garnered poor adoption rates from the very beginning. Even after going private it was not a bed of roses for Michael Dell and his company. The acquisition of EMC and its share of VMware changed all that over time, and Dell was eventually valued at nearly 3 times what it was at the time of privatization.

The background is completely different other than the fact that both entrepreneurs were (are) under intense pressure before going private. Is the same thing going to happen to Tesla? We don’t know, but we do know that Musk’s predicament is far stickier than Michael Dell’s. Tesla’s CEO has had to deal with “extreme torture from the short-sellers, who are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction.” Dell didn’t have that sort of hell to deal with.

Whether or not the short-sellers are behind Tripp is and will likely remain an unknown quantity. But it’s clear that even though Musk has overcome most of Tesla’s hurdles on the business front, the legal frontier still needs to be conquered.

Editor’s Note: The status of ‘whistleblower’ is officially assigned by the SEC in accordance with the terms of the whistleblower program that was established in 2010 based on section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which added Section 21F to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”.)