Musk’s erratic behaviour is already having a detrimental effect on Tesla’s shares.
Once again, Elon Musk has landed himself in hot water over a controversial comment made on Twitter. This time, however, there could be consequences. The CEO is being sued by British diver Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue 12 Thai teenagers from a flooded cave in July, after Musk branded him as a paedophile and child rapist.
Unsworth is seeking $75,000 in compensation and an injunction against Musk to stop further allegations. A separate lawsuit will be filed in London according to the BBC. The diver wants the lawsuit to “punish [Musk] for his wrongdoing and deter him from repeating such heinous conduct.”
After the rescue, Unsworth told CNN that the submarine created by Tesla SpaceX engineers was "just a PR stunt [that] had absolutely no chance of working" and said Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts". This prompted Musk to Tweet a series of personal attacks against the diver, referring to him as a “pedo guy.”
“You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” he Tweeted back in July.
Musk apologized and deleted the comments, only to reignite the feud this month in an email to Buzzfeed. “I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists,” he wrote. The entrepreneur went on to describe Unsworth as an “old, single white guy” who has been living in Thailand for “30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
It will be interesting to see what repercussions Musk’s comments have and how it affects his position at the company. His erratic behaviour is clearly having a detrimental effect, as Tesla’s shares fell by seven percent earlier this month. No doubt it will also give industry veterans more ammunition calling for Musk to step down as Tesla’s CEO.