Friday, 19 October, 2018

Tesla shares fall after CEO Musk abuses British caver

Thailand cave rescuer considers legal action against Elon Musk for 'pedo' comment Elon Musk makes unfounded accusation against Thai cave rescuer
| 18 July, 2018, 10:43

Generally confused, some Twitter followers guessed that Musk was dubiously linking Unsworth (who has been mapping the Tham Luang caves for a decade) with Thailand's epidemic of child-sex tourism.

Unsworth said he was "astonished and very angry" at the attack and asked whether he would be taking legal action against Musk he said: "Yes, it's not finished".

Musk defended his vessel further and then added: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".

He said he had not seen Unsworth - whom he dismissed as "this British expat guy who lives in Thailand" - during his brief guided tour of the cave system and suggested that, therefore, Unsworth had not actually participated in the rescue operation. Tesla is worth more than $52 billion, largely on the promise of Musk's genius.

Tesla spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment. That report came after some criticism of the plan from people who argued that the relatively large submarine would not be able to fit around the tight cave network the boys had to navigate.

For many, Musk's tweet was the last straw following his heated Twitter exchanges in recent months and repeated attacks on reporters, regulators and now rescuers.

While investors following Tesla are a starkly polarized bunch, there's one thing they can probably all agree on: As the company struggles to profitably boost production of its Model 3 sedan, it needs as few distractions as possible.


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. Musk soon started a "Twitter argument over how much credit he deserved for offering to help save the youths", writes The Washington Post.

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.

"I believe he's called me a pedophile". Musk responded on Twitter on July 10, calling Osottanakorn "not the subject matter expert". Unsworth told AFP news that he will make a decision about whether to take legal action against Musk after flying back to the United Kingdom this week.

He later doubled down on his comments, insisting to one critic that he'd bet "a signed dollar it was true", before deleting all the tweets about Unsworth.

A police officer in Chiang Rai, where Unsworth has lived for seven years, said that no charges or complaints had ever been filed against Unsworth. Reuters could not reach Unsworth for comment.

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. Meanwhile, CEO of Brian Communications Brian Tierney said Musk is "not showing the kind of discipline of someone going to manufacture hundreds of thousands of cars".

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