Last week, the world was captivated by the heroic rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from three kilometers deep inside a Thai cave (coming soon to a theater near you!). The joy of the rescue was tainted when billionaire Elon Musk called one of the rescue divers a “pedo.” Obviously, calling a hero a pedo is never a good look, and so now Elon is sorry.
While the kids were still trapped in the cave, Elon and some engineers from SpaceX showed up in Thailand with a kid-sized submarine they built to transport the boys out of the cave and back to their families. It didn’t work. A 63-year-old British diver named Vern Unsworth, who was present in Thailand to assist with the rescue, called the submarine a PR stunt, and told Elon where he could stick his submarine. That comment caused Elon to rage angrier and hotter than the Tesla factory’s latest fire, and he slapped back on Twitter by calling Vern a “pedo guy.” Vern threatened legal action.
Elon later deleted the tweet. Late on Tuesday evening, Elon responded to an article on Twitter that was written about his pedo comment. Elon acknowledged that the reason he called Vern a pedo in the first place was because Vern hurt his massive ego – huge shock there – and apologized for making such a statement.
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. The fault is mine and mine alone.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
Elon’s apology might have come after he took a good hard look in the mirror and realized he came off as a bigger villain than the Thai cave itself. But it probably came down to money. CNBC reports that earlier on Tuesday, venture capitalist Gene Munster, writing on behalf of Tesla’s investors, called for Elon to apologize to Vern for the pedo remark. Gene said Elon’s behavior was “fueling an unhelpful perception” as the company’s leader. Basically, Elon was making Tesla look bad.
It also didn’t look good for the overall value of the company. After Elon called Vern a pedo, Tesla shares dropped more than 3%. I don’t know much about stocks, but I guess customers weren’t too excited to buy a Tesla from a someone who makes unfounded pedophile accusations. Investors don’t want to worry about someone tweeting to Elon to ask if it’s difficult to turn on the child safety locks in the Model S. You’d probably get a response like, “Oh, you’d like to lock a child away, wouldn’t you, you freakin’ pedo.”