One of the men who helped rescued 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand said he is considering legal action against Elon Musk after the U.S. billionaire called him a "pedo", or pedophile, in a now-deleted tweet.
Unsworth added that Musk's mini-submarine strategy "had absolutely no chance of working" despite the billionaire's claims on Twitter. Musk didn't name Unsworth in his series of tweets over the weekend, though he said he would make a video to prove that the mini sub could have helped in the rescue.
In an interview with CNN, Diver Vern Unsworth was asked for his thoughts on Musk's "kid-sized" submersible. "Yes, it's not finished", Unsworth told Australian outlet Channel 7, per BBC News. "I should probably say nothing more often", Musk said at the time.
Musk's tweets attacking Unsworth prompted condemnation from those who took part in the mission to save the boys. Pressed to explain the accusation, Musk instead doubled down: "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true".More news: Lawmakers call Trump's performance at press conference with Putin 'shameful'
In the tweets he only referred to Unsworth as the "British expat guy who lives in Thailand". In the tweets, Musk strayed from a vigorous defence of his companies into personal insult, with no facts to back it up.
"I believe he's called me a pedophile", Unsworth responded in an interview with the Guardian newspaper. "When you're the face of the company, as Elon Musk is, that vulnerability and responsibility is only ratcheted up".
Musk is known for his comebacks aimed at journalists and Wall Street analysts.
The company, which has had only two profitable quarters, is deep in debt and will have trouble meeting Musk's prediction of a profit in the second half of this year, Spiegel said.
Given the pressure, Musk may want to reconsider his approach to dealing with his critics, said Bryan Reber, who teaches public relations at the University of Georgia.
Anderson and others noted how Tesla has been at the forefront of electric auto development and reducing carbon emissions - and Musk's controversial Twitter comments could jeopardize that. But whatever. Musk has also been busy trying to undermine reports that he was one of the top 50 donors to a political action committee that aims to retain Republican control of the U.S. House after federal filings showed he donated $38,900. "I'm certain they wish he would be a more cautious tweeter".