Neil deGrasse Tyson defended Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an interview with TMZ, calling him "the best thing we've had since Thomas Edison."

Tyson defended Musk's conduct in an interview last week with Joe Rogan in which Musk was filmed smoking marijuana. (Recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, where the interview was filmed.)

"Can they leave him alone? Let the man get high if he wants to get high," Tyson said.

Before his interview with Rogan, Musk told The New York Times in August that marijuana hurts one's ability to work.

"Weed is not helpful for productivity. There's a reason for the word 'stoned.' You just sit there like a stone on weed," Musk said.

Tyson also addressed the process by which Musk explored the possibility of converting Tesla into a private company, saying Musk had to be accountable to the public since Tesla is traded on public markets.

"He's got to obey the SEC, clearly. But if he doesn't want to obey the SEC, then he's got to have a private company, then he can do what he wants," Tyson said.

Musk attracted controversy in August over his statements about wanting to take Tesla private, which raised questions about the certainty of funding Musk referenced in a tweet and where exactly that funding would come from.

Fox Business and The New York Times reported that the SEC had sent subpoenas to Tesla concerning Tesla's plans to explore going private and Musk's statements about the process. Musk ultimately said Tesla will remain a public company.

Tyson later said he's a fan of Musk, suggesting that he's among the most innovative people working today.

"Count me as team Elon," Tyson said. "He's the only game in town. He's the best thing we've had since Thomas Edison."

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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