Azealia Banks reveals why she thinks Elon Musk was right to settle with the SEC and who Tesla should tap as its new chairman

Getty ImagesAzealia Banks and Elon Musk.
  • Azealia Banks tells Business Insider that she is “proud” of Elon Musk’s decision to settle with the SEC, paying a $US20 million fine and agreeing to step down as chairman.
  • Many theorised that Banks would have testified in the SEC investigation, had Musk not settled, and the rapper said she had already been planning courtroom outfits.
  • “I would have walked up in that courtroom looking like a pussycat,” Banks said. “It would have been historic… but this way was ultimately better for America and the public.”
  • Banks’ top pick for Musk’s replacement as Tesla’s next chairman is former Alphabet chairman, Eric Schmidt.

Azealia Banks wants the world to know she does not hate Elon Musk.

“All of these shorts are up my arse thinking I somehow hate Elon and I don’t,” Banks told Business Insider in an interview via Twitter DM on Saturday, shortly after news broke that the Tesla CEO had reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Banks, best known for her rap career, has been an unexpected player in Musk’s and Tesla’s recent drama. Banks originally criticised Musk following the infamous “funding secured” tweet, but she has since turned into a Tesla supporter. Now, Banks says she believes Musk made the right decision to agree to step down as the chairman of Tesla’s board of directors and pay a $US20 million fine.

“I don’t think he should be embarrassed for any reason,” Banks said. “S— like this happens to people in charge of huge amounts of money all the time. It’s pain from the game.”

The SEC sued Musk last week, alleging that Musk made “false and misleading statements” in a series of mid-August tweets about taking Tesla private.

Soon after Musk’s posted the tweets, Banks stayed at one of Musk’s Los Angeles properties for a weekend, pulling the rapper into Musk’s orbit during one of the most publicly tumultuous periods of his life. Banks told Business Insider she saw Musk “scrounging for investors” when she stayed at his house, despite the CEO claiming at the time he had funding secured to take Tesla private.

The future of Tesla, according to Azealia Banks

While Banks says she hasn’t communicated directly with Musk following the weekend, she has followed Tesla news closely. After originally being offended by Musk’s behaviour, Banks says she now wishes him the best and is “proud” of his decision to settle with the SEC and step down as chairman.

Banks also has suggestions for who Tesla should tap as its next chairman: former Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt or another executive who has worked at Google. It’s a good match, according to Banks, because they’re “smart as hell” but won’t take the media spotlight off of Musk.

Banks isn’t the only person to float Schmidt’s name. Last week, Brad Meikle, senior analyst at Williams Trading, told The Street that there is talk that Tesla is considering hiring “someone like Eric Schmidt, a rock star,” as chairman.

The SEC settlement puts an end to what could have been another appearance by Banks in Tesla’s saga.

Some theorised that Banks’ weekend at Musk’s property could have led to her testifying as part of the lawsuit. And, Banks said she was already planning courtroom looks inspired by Naomi Campbell’s “blood diamond” testimony in the trial of Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor.

“I would have walked up in that courtroom looking like a pussycat,” Banks said. “It would have been historic… but this way was ultimately better for America and the public.”

Now, Banks is content to wish Musk the best, even if she isn’t above capitalising on the press coverage of the ongoing drama. On Saturday, Banks offered a special $US4.20 deal on soap, a reference to Musk’s infamous 420 “funding secured” tweet. She also told Business Insider she’d be interested in collaborating with Grimes to produce a soundtrack for the SEC investigation.

“I hope Elon is somewhere (without grimes’ dumb arse) celebrating and relaxing with his kids,” Banks said on Saturday. “I’m sure they had it rough watching this whole thing play out … I didn’t want them to have to see their dad being torn apart. That would make any child cry.”

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