Jun 08, 2023

Twitter Owes Company $7K for Whiskey, Cheese, Socks for Musk: Lawsuit

Twitter ordered a nearly $7,000 "swag gift box" for its new owner Elon Musk — complete with two custom-branded bomber jackets, a special cheese board, and a $689 bottle of whiskey — and then walked out on the bill, a marketing company claims in a lawsuit.

California-based Canary Marketing, which says it worked with Twitter for a decade on promotional items, like branded T-shirts, claimed in a lawsuit filed in California state court that Twitter suddenly stopped paying its bills in September 2022. It sued Twitter in January for breach of contract, claiming the social-media giant owed it more than $390,000.

One of the payments Canary claims Twitter owes is the order from late September for a "swag gift box for Elon" worth $6,783.99, to be sent to Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. The invoice, a copy of which was included in a court filing, says the order was placed by a procurement manager at Twitter.

The invoice lists an engraved cheese board and $215 worth of cheese, the bottle of Nikka Japanese whiskey, and some space-themed merchandise, referencing Musk's passion for space exploration: an engraved rocket-shaped cocktail shaker and a moon ice mold.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on the gifts seemingly ordered for Musk. Twitter and Canary didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, made outside of normal US working hours.

The tech mogul bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October. Since then, his leadership of the company has been characterized by some as chaos. Musk has been trying to cut Twitter's costs, which he's branded as out-of-control, by laying off thousands of workers, cutting back on free food, and allegedly stopping paying rent. Twitter had been hit by a swath of lawsuits, including by former workers and real estate companies.

Lauren Borelli, a vice president at Canary, said in a declaration last month that the company had delivered more than $10 million of Twitter-branded merchandise between 2013, when the companies started working together, and August 2022. But since September, Twitter has stopped paying invoices, the lawsuit alleges.

The biggest invoice mentioned in the lawsuit, from mid-September, comes to almost $250,000 including $67,000 in shipping costs. The order included around 2,000 bundles each consisting of a hoodie, T-shirt, socks, and sticker, wrapped in custom tissue. The socks alone cost Twitter $10.45 a pair, the invoice says.

Other items included in the invoices include water bottles, candles, soap, slippers, bath salts, and cookie cutters.

In a court filing last week, Twitter said it needed "several more weeks" to investigate the allegations. The company has until March 17 to respond to the claims.

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