Elon Musk may soon learn this lesson the hard way now that a British diver who helped rescue 12 Thai boys from the treacherous depths of a cave threatened Musk with a lawsuit on Monday. Tesla shares fell in the wake of the controversy.
British rescuer Vern Unsworth says he is considering legal action against U.S. billionaire Elon Musk after he made an unfounded and disparaging claim he was a "pedo", or pedophile, in a now-deleted tweet. The caver said, "I believe he's called me a pedophile". "By definition, I mean rescuing 12 young boys, by definition that puts everybody else in the same context".
Musk had proposed using "a tiny, kid-size submarine" featuring technology from his space exploration firm to evacuate the boys, and travelled to Thailand with a prototype last Tuesday.
Tesla's stock lost four percent or $2 billion of its value on Monday following Musk's comment.
"Hopefully useful", he said in one tweet. "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".
A police officer in the Chiang Rai district where Unsworth has lived for seven years, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said that no charges or complaints had ever been filed against Unsworth. In response, Mr Musk, 47, posted a series of tweets insinuating that as... Musk's critics have long said his bitter slugfests - with rivals, partners, analysts, journalists and employees, to name a few - have hamstrung Tesla on its vaunted mission to reshape the auto industry and change the world.
He called Unsworth, a British caver who lives in Thailand, a "pedo" or pedophile in a now-deleted tweet.
Musk made his "pedo guy" comment in a tweet to Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor who recently wrote a New York Times op-ed titled "What Elon Musk Should Learn From the Thailand Cave Rescue".
Musk had already attracted criticism for his approach to the Thai rescue after Narongsak Osatanakorn, head of the joint command center, said the mini-submarine was sophisticated, but not practical for the operation.