Monday, 20 August, 2018

Elon Musk calls Thai cave rescuer pedophile, might face legal action

EnlargeJasper Juinen  Bloomberg via Getty Images EnlargeJasper Juinen Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scott Davis | 18 July, 2018, 10:46

Elon Musk's controversial tweet about a diver who helped rescue 12 boys from a cave in Thailand has prompted some Tesla investors to express concern his behavior could affect the performance of his electric vehicle company.

After the rescue, Unsworth was quoted by CNN as saying Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts," claiming it had "no chance of working" and calling it a PR stunt.

Musk sent a series of now-deleted tweets in which he accused Vernon Unsworth, a 63-year-old volunteer who was crucial to the rescue, of being sexually attracted to children.

Asked by Australia's Channel 7 News on Monday whether he was considering taking legal action, Unsworth quickly replied: "Yes, it's not finished".

"Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it", he added, completely out of the blue.

Musk said that he makes annual donations to Democratic and Republican candidates, and these donations ensure lawmakers remain "willing to listen when I call to object about issues that negatively affect humanity". Tesla is worth more than $52 billion, largely on the promise of Musk's genius.

A spokesperson for Tesla declined to comment when Business Insider inquired about the political donations.

He added the comments about him were an assault on the whole rescue team.

Mr Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research, who has always been bullish on Tesla, said the latest dust-ups involving Mr Musk only show "he is human", and do not detract from his quality as a great innovator.




Musk had offered to contribute a "mini-submarine" to help get the boys and their coach out of the miles-long labyrinth, but by the time he arrived with the device rescuers had already begun extracting the group with the help of expert divers.

Unsworth said on Monday he had not reviewed the tweets in full and had only heard about them.

Musk - briefly - is a person who co-founded the e-commerce site PayPal, who later built rocket ships through SpaceX and electric cars through Tesla, and who is alternately hailed as a visionary or derided as a showboater for pitching ideas to begin colonising Mars next decade, or build highways under Los Angeles, or create a website to rate the credibility of journalists who report on problems at his electric-car company.

Claus Rasmussen, a Danish national and instructor at Blue Label diving in Phuket, called the allegations "inappropriate" and praised Unsworth's role in the rescue. "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true", Musk said when someone challenged him on such an outrageous claim.

Mr Bob O'Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said Mr Musk has fallen into a "hero worship persona" but has failed to live up to the responsibility that implies. The company's managing director tweeted:"All it takes is a public apology Mr Musk and i will reverse our decision".

Musk has since deleted the nefarious tweet.

"I have a lot of support from people around the world astonished by his unfounded comments", he said.

Robert Drechsel, who taught media law at the University of Wisconsin, said if he were Tesla's attorney, he would advise the CEO to stop tweeting.

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