By on July 18, 2018

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

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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35 Comments on “Elon Musk Apologizes to Diver As Leadership Worries Grow...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Musk’s mini-sub puts me in mind of the Dobbertin Surface Orbiter, an amphibious vehicle made by hot rod builder Rick Dobbertin. It was a converted milk tanker that was supposed to circle the globe. They drove it off the dock and straight to Davy Jones’ locker, lol.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Actually the DSO almost made it around the world before the effort ran out of money. Rick Dobbertin later sold it to fund a new project, the “Hydrocar.”

      Crazy, perhaps, but not sunk by any means.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        You’re right, it didn’t sink. They had to be rescued by the Coast Guard on February 12, 1994 when the transmission failed in rough seas. I knew something happened soon after they left Miami. They were pretty beat up by the time they got to the Bahamas. They eventually made it through the Panama Canal though.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    Elon, just do yourself a favor and uninstall twitter. It’s that simple. How many times do you have to touch the hot stove to work that out?

    Sincerely, someone who is actually a fan.

  • avatar
    Krivka

    Peculiar that a guy who professes to care about the environment supports an administration and a political party that couldn’t care less about his professed idealism. He is looking more and more like a run if the mill 19th-century railroad baron every day.

  • avatar

    “Sorry you were spouting lies and upset me, sorry.”

    This is a terrible apology by really any standard.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      Thank you – quite right. Many people seem to have lost what understanding or standards they had.

      I think Unsworth should proceed and sue Musk to prove a point and teach a lesson in character. Many Americans need one and what a nice public opportunity to dress down the rich swaggarts of the world.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Why isn’t Musk more “chill” at this point? Doesn’t he have a new girlfriend?

    He should be too happy to tweet in anger.

    I’ve got an “I LOVE MY HATERS” bumpersticker, get one for your personal Tesla, Mr. Musk.

    • 0 avatar

      Put on them hater blockers and live your best life.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Given that new GF’s past proclivities and the flat-out deranged nature of some of Musk’s recent tweets, perhaps Tesla execs should be looking at how they can force their CEO to take a drug test.

      I genuinely hope that’s not the case; then again, would it be “better” if it was due to some external force rather than a personality disorder and/or simply piss-poor anger management?

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Consider the situation he’s in. It looks like he’s just running an electric car company. If people look a little deeper they will see an automobile company with a tiny sales volume, no operating profit, and a market cap nearly as big as GM.

      The last company to pull off this ruse was Amazon, and they are connected to some not so savory people and some questionable government contracts, including their sweetheart deal with the USPS.

      The people who glom on to these upstart rocket ships, like Amazon, Facebook, Tesla, etc, are not merely investors. No rational person would ever invest in these companies. They are powerful people with dubious connections who expect the world to change to accommodate their investment.

      Musk is caught between those people and the Trump administration. I’m surprised he is not curled up in the fetal position under his desk.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    I am convinced that 100% of apologies on social media are insincere. I would bet money on it.
    I apologize if this hurts anyone’s feelings.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I know he’s smart enough to know “stick it up your rear/where it hurts” is an idiom and not a specific request to insert something into his rectum.

    “apology” is mealy-mouthed weak sauce.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. Musk’s non-apology accuses the cave rescuer of referencing a sexual act, which “pull your head out of your ass” clearly is not to anyone with two functioning brain cells. So Musk essentially uses the “apology” to slander him again. He’s taking Fail to a new level.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Call someone a pedophile because they pointed out your ignorance of a situation? You need to be sued. Maybe Unsworth Motors can get production of the Model 3 on track.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Smart, arrogant, rich, know-it-all bully CEOs grow like weeks here in Silicon Valley. They routinely get away with horrible words and actions because they have money and power.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Musk had better watch his step. He’s a straight, white male; there strong moves afoot to exorcise beasts of his ilk from positions of power.

  • avatar
    bcboat

    Too many tweets make for a twat.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Nice fake apology you scum bag.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Twitter is about as useless as a screen door on a submarine…

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

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

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    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 – http://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.

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