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Elon Musk told a Twitter advisor at 4 a.m. that the company would only pay rent over his 'dead body,' lawsuit says

May 18, 2023, 22:34 IST
Business Insider
Elon Musk and Twitter's San Francisco headquarters.LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images; Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Six former Twitter employees filed a lawsuit against Elon Musk and the company on Tuesday.
  • The lawsuit said Musk told an advisor at 4 a.m. that "he would only pay rent over his dead body."

A new lawsuit alleges that Elon Musk told an investor during a 4 a.m. conversation that Twitter would only pay rent for its offices "over his dead body."

Six former Twitter employees filed the lawsuit against Musk and X. Corp, Twitter's holding company, in the District Court of Delaware on Tuesday.

The lawsuit said that Twitter failed to pay severance to its staff and accused the defendants of violating 14 counts, including fraud, labor-rights laws, and breach of contract.

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Over the last few months, Twitter's landlords in London, New York City, and San Francisco have sued the company over claims that it was failing to pay rent — Tuesday's lawsuit includes new detail about internal conversations about the situation.

The lawsuit said that Joseph Killian, a plaintiff who worked at Twitter for 12 years and oversaw office design, was aware that Musk decided last December that Twitter would stop paying rent.


That message, the lawsuit alleged, was relayed to him by Pablo Mendoza, a venture capitalist who had invested with Musk and was brought in to bring the billionaire's Twitter 2.0 vision to life.

"Killian attempted to convince Musk, via Mendoza, of the danger of Musk's new position that no rent would be paid whatsoever, pointing out that any attempt to renegotiate the terms of Twitter's many leases would be doomed to failure," the lawsuit said.

"Elon told me he would only pay rent over his dead body," the lawsuit said Mendoza responded, alleging that the conversation took place at 4 a.m. on the same day.

Musk told CNBC on Tuesday that he slept around six hours a night. He also previously told the BBC that he had "shot myself in the foot" by tweeting after 3 a.m.

The lawsuit said that Musk's attorney, Alex Spiro, "loudly opined" it was unreasonable for Twitter's landlords to expect it to pay rent because San Francisco was a "shithole."


Twitter's headquarters is just a few minutes from the city's Tenderloin district.

On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that downtown San Francisco was "a derelict zombie apocalypse," but told CNBC that his employees could not work from home.

Insider contacted Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that didn't address the inquiry.

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