Elon Musk was in a jovial mood Friday, on the same day Twitter laid off more than 3,000 people, impersonating Al Pacino’s performance in “The Godfather Part III” as he spoke at an investors conference in New York City.
Talking to an audience at the Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera that numbered about the same as those he laid off by email, the Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter CEO joked about his acquisition of the social-media platform.
“I tried to get out of the deal,” Musk said, laughing while drawing audience laughter in his appearance at the Baron Investment Conference.
He then outstretched his arms like he was doing the famous Michael Corleone scene.
“I tried to get out, but tried to get back in,” Musk said, struggling with the impersonation while maintaining a wide smile before further discussing the $44 billion purchase of Twitter and successive layoffs, which have already triggered at least one lawsuit.
“But you told me you wanted me to ask tough questions,” the moderator responded, also laughing.
“I mean I think most people would say, given how market has evolved this year, the price is on the high side,” Musk said.
Musk said he expects the layoffs to save Twitter $400 million a year while further pitching his plans to charge verified users $8 a month.
“You’ll get a lot more than just the blue check mark for $8 a month,” Musk said. “Because now we can afford long-form video, long audio, podcasts, and we can also start sharing revenue with content creators, which is essential.”
He also said Twitter could someday “become one of the most valuable companies in the world,” citing the successes of Tesla and SpaceX.
A press release announcing Musk’s appearance at the conference was sent out midmorning Friday. But according to Business Insider, conference guests did not know of it until they saw the day’s agenda in their programs or on poster boards around the Lincoln Center.
Watch an excerpt of the Musk interview published by the Wall Street Journal below. Compare his Pacino impersonation with the real thing here.