Tesla investors have demanded an apology from the foolish owner Elon Musk (pictured) after he casually labelled a life-saving cave diver who was key to the rescue of the 12 children in Thailand a “pedo”.
The billionaire’s tweet sparked a backlash from shareholders, who wrote the childish Musk an open letter.
Musk, 47, baselessly called the British diver Vernon Unsworth a “pedo” in a rant to his more than 22 million followers and then repeated the insult. The PayPal founder then deleted the posts, apparently unaware of the screenshot.
The shareholder letter to the Tesla and SpaceX chief said his “many examples of concerning behaviour” was “shaking investor confidence”.
The letter read: “The exchange with Vern Unsworth crossed the line. I suspect you would agree given you deleted the string from Twitter, but it will take more than that to regain investor confidence.
“Your behaviour is fuelling an unhelpful perception of your leadership – thin-skinned and short-tempered.
“Thankfully, the road to regaining investor confidence is well travelled. It starts with an apology. Then, focus your message on your progress toward achieving Tesla’s mission.”
The tycoon should rest his thumbs and consider a “Twitter sabbatical”, they said.
“Twitter might keep Tesla in the news but it won’t help continued improvements in production and product.”
Musk defamed Unsworth after he was critical of an offer of a mini-submarine for the rescue of the Thai football team, calling it a “PR stunt”.
When it was pointed out to Unsworth in an interview that Musk had visited the caves, he quickly replies: “And was asked to leave very quickly.”
Unsworth told CNN that Musk’s prototype would have “absolutely no chance of working”.
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” the rescue hero said. “He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine, I believe, was about 5 feet 6 inches long, and rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or obstacles.
“It wouldn’t have made the first 50 metres in from the dive start point. Just a PR stunt.”
The submarine was sent to Thailand, but the rescue team did not use it.
Musk was angered and tweeted about the “pedo guy” and said he would make a video proving the submarine would have worked. The tycoon repeated the comment: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it”.
Meanwhile, the 12 boys and their coach were trapped deep underground.
Musk then tweeted: “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true … Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand at any point when we were in the caves.”
A tired Unsworth told the media after the mission was successfully completed that he was considering legal action. “If it’s what I think it is, yes,” he said, adding that his business with Musk “ain’t finished”.
He will probably find plenty of offers of legal help.
Elon Musk has not covered himself in glory. Picture credit: Wikimedia