Elon Musk Apologizes to Diver As Leadership Worries Grow

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
elon musk apologizes to diver as leadership worries grow

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has returned to Twitter, this time to issue an apology to British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. Musk had maintained radio silence on the social media platform ever since calling the Thailand cave rescuer a “pedo” in response to comments Unsworth made about the viability of his hastily prepared mini-sub. Musk later added that he’d bet money that his accusation was true.

The weekend tweets were subsequently deleted.

Yes, it’s a wholly ridiculous situation, but imagine yourself in Unsworth’s shoes. The diver claimed he received calls from lawyers in the UK and United States, and was considering legal action against Musk upon his return to Britain. Meanwhile, major Tesla investors entertained their own thoughts — troubling ones, as Musk’s out-of-the-blue attack on a man widely regarded as a hero raised serious questions about his leadership.

Speaking to The Guardian, James Anderson, a partner at Baillie Gifford (Tesla’s fourth-largest shareholder), said he shared Musk’s environmental worldview, but was “frustrated that the real steps towards this are being overshadowed and undermined by this saga.”

Bloomberg reports that Gene Munster, a managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, penned an open letter to Musk on Tuesday. In it, he said Musk’s recent history of erratic behaviour is shaking investor confidence. Accusing the cave rescuer of pedophilia “crossed the line,” he said.

“Your behavior is fueling an unhelpful perception of your leadership — thin-skinned and short-tempered,” Munster wrote.

Unsworth, 63, told Reuters Tuesday that Musk’s attack “very much upset” his daughter, and that his lack of an official response can be blamed on the seeking of legal advice. “It’s taken a bit of the pleasure out of what’s happened, what we’ve achieved, for me anyway,” he said, speaking of last week’s rescue of 12 Thai boys trapped in a flooded cave. Unsworth spearheaded the ultimately successful search for the missing soccer team.

Asked about potential legal action, Unsworth appeared ready to sue. “I can’t let it go. There’s too much out there already,” he told Reuters.

Early Wednesday, Musk issued an apology to Unsworth via Twitter, though the apology was contained in a response to a follower. The follower, who claims “journalism is dead,” posted a link to a Quora post that vigorously defended Musk’s involvement in the Thai cave rescue. Musk retweeted the post 13 hours before his apology.

After praising the “well-written” article, Musk wrote “my words were spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader.”

He continued, “Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader.”

When reached for comment, Unsworth told Reuters, “I am aware of his apology, and no further comment.” The cave diver would not divulge whether Musk’s capitulation meant an impending lawsuit is now off the table.

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  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Jul 19, 2018

    Unless you are DT, and base your foreign policy in lieu of the State Department.

  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jul 22, 2018

    Wall Street Journal out w/breaking news on TESLA - - on its last stand like Custer - things have gotten so bad that they are in a liquidity crisis (burning through 3.6 billion dollars on an annual basis, and losing key executives and employees at a record clip, along with Musk's literally insane behavior of late that they HAVE DEMANDED THAT KEY SUPPLIERS REFUND MONIES TESLA HAS PAID FOR PARTS GOING BACK TO 2016, IN ORDER TO HELP TESLA RE-CAPITALIZE ITSELF, AND TESLA HAS IMPLIED THAT IF THEY DON'T AGREE TO DO SO, THE BILLIONS OWED SINCE THE RAMP UP MAY NOT BE PAID. WSJ Article - www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-asks-suppliers-for-cash-back-to-help-turn-a-profit-1532301091 SH*T'S GETTING REAL: From The Wall Street Journal- "According to a memo seen by The Wall Street Journal that was sent to a supplier last week, Tesla said it is asking its suppliers for cash back to, drumroll, help it become profitable, as if that is somehow the priority of the company's suppliers. And we are not talking about a few cents here and there: Tesla requested the supplier return what it calls a meaningful amount of money of its payments since 2016. But wait, it gets better: the memo which was sent by a global supply manager (who will probably be fired shortly), described the request as "essential to Tesla’s continued operation" and characterized it as an investment in the car company to continue the long-term growth between both players. In other words, Tesla has given its vendors an ultimatum: give us a haircut, or else we won't survive, and not only is your business with us over, but all those billions in payables we owe you, well, good luck with the other pre-petition claims in bankruptcy court. Or as one Tesla skeptic noted on twitter: "TSLA has been cranking out cars 24/7 at 2-3x the rate they can deliver them, turning supplier parts on credit into finished goods. Then they turn around and "ask" for a cash back so they don't default on said suppliers. Y'all just got played $TSLA has been cranking out cars 24/7 at 2-3x the rate they can deliver them, turning supplier parts on credit into finished goods. Then they turn around and "ask" for a cash back so they don't default on said suppliers. Y'all just got played — I.C.O. 14001 (@eriz35) July 22, 2018 For those wondering how much money Tesla owes its suppliers, or "ransom" as it is now better known, the answer is $2.6 billion and rising exponentially." As the WSJ further adds, "while Tesla said in the memo that all suppliers were being asked to help it become profitable, it is unclear how many were asked for a discount on contracted spending amounts retroactively." While Tesla did not comment on the memo, it spun the situation as standard industry practice (it isn't) confirming it is seeking price reductions from suppliers for projects, some of which date back to 2016, and some of which final acceptance many not yet have occurred.

  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.