Elon Musk lawyer quotes Eminem lyrics in latest SEC legal filing

The regulator filed a lawsuit against Musk in 2018

Billionaire Elon Musk's latest court filing in his legal battle against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quotes rapper Eminem. 

In an effort to throw out his 2018 agreement with the top U.S. securities regulator requiring the Tesla, Inc. co-founder to obtain pre-approval for his tweets, Musk's lawyer Alex Spiro referenced the 2002 song "Without Me."

"The (SEC) won't let me be or let me be me so let me see; They tried to shut me down," he said


Eminem's original lyrics swipe at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 

"The FCC won’t let me be or let me be me so let me see/ They tried to shut me down on MTV," the rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers, wrote. 

The FCC had tried to fine a Colorado radio station for playing Eminem's 2000 song "The Real Slim Shady;" the FCC ultimately relented

Tesla CEO Elon Musk stands at the opening of the company's Berlin factory.

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)

Musk's attorney noted that the "First Amendment requires that agencies proceed with caution when constitutional rights are at stake, not seek to pursue any and all novel theories that broaden their authority at the cost of individual freedom."

He also renewed efforts to reject an SEC subpoena for details on whether Musk and Tesla are complying with their disclosure requirements under the 2018 consent decree.

Spiro said the SEC issued its subpoena in bad faith and called requiring lawyers to vet Musk's tweets unconstitutional – a violation of the First Amendment.

In a February motion filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Musk and Tesla accused the SEC of targeting him with "unrelenting" investigations in an attempt to "chill his exercise of First Amendment rights." 


Spiro also said that an Aug. 7, 2018, tweet that Musk had "funding secured" to potentially take the auto company private was truthful.

The regulator filed a lawsuit against Musk in 2018, claiming the statements in that tweet were "false and misleading" and that Musk "knew or was reckless in not knowing" that his statements were false and/or misleading.

Spiro has argued that the SEC cannot take action related to Musk's tweets without court authorization, emphasizing that the 2018 settlement was reached when Tesla was a less mature company.

The SEC – which is investigating a Nov. 6, 2021, tweet probing Musk's followers regarding whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake to cover tax bills on stock options – said Musk should not be excused from the agreement because he found compliance "less convenient than he had hoped." 

They said earlier in March that they have the legal authority to subpoena Tesla and Musk, calling his challenge "frivolous." 

The subpoenas, issued under seal, seek all written communications concerning the Nov. 6 tweets and whether they were shown to Tesla lawyers for pre-approval.

"Courts have long recognized that ‘Congress has vested the SEC with broad authority to conduct investigations into possible violations of federal securities laws and to demand production of evidence relevant to such investigations,’" SEC attorney Melissa Armstrong said.

Musk has said he felt pressured to settle with the commission because its action "stood to jeopardize the company’s financing," saying the agency has not yet distributed the fine money to Tesla shareholders as was required. 


The SEC said it expected a plan to distribute the funds to receive court approval by the end of last month, according to The Verge.

Reuters reported that the case, SEC v Musk, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-08865, is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. 

Fox Business' request for comment from the SEC was not immediately returned.

Fox Business' Lucas Manfredi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.