Thai cave rescuer considers suing Elon Musk over 'pedo' tweets

18 July, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Thailand cave rescuer considers legal action against Elon Musk for 'pedo' comment

The letter comes two days after Musk tweeted an unfounded and disparaging claim about Vernon Unsworth, an expert caver who participated in the rescue mission that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach who spent almost three weeks trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk remarked that diver Vernon Unsworth was a "pedo" in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Unsworth called the mini-sub a "PR stunt" by the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX and said it "had absolutely no chance of working", because Musk and his team of engineers "had no conception of what the cave passage was like".

Musk's posts on Twitter sparked backlash from shareholders and Silicon Valley analysts, who called his behavior immature and an impediment to the auto company's success.

Mr Unsworth told reporters on Monday that he was considering legal action. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.

The caver said he would make a decision when he flies back to the United Kingdom this week, but added that the episode with Musk "ain't finished". "The "billionaire" label, when used by media, is nearly always meant to devalue and denigrate the subject", he tweeted. "I have given vastly more to humanitarian causes".

Musk's comments were a response to an Business Insider interview with Unsworth on Sunday. The British diver reportedly helped recruit top global cave rescue experts for the mission as well.

Since then, he has been arguing with people who accuse him of shoehorning himself into the drama and imagining hypotheticals in which rescuers had not deemed his hastily built submarine unnecessary and impractical.

At a critical time for electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc.

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Unsworth, 63, said he hadn't actually met Musk face to face when Musk visited the cave during the rescue effort. The unsubstantiated claim came after the expert caver criticized the miniature submarine Musk created to help with the Thai cave rescue. "The submarine, I believe, was about 5 feet 6 inches [1.7m] long, rigid, so it wouldn't have gone round corners or round any obstacles".

Mr Musk responded by saying Mr Osotthanakorn had been "described inaccurately as "rescue chief" and was "not the subject matter expert".

"I'm not going to make any further comment about him", Unsworth continued.

Unsworth said on Monday he had not reviewed the tweets in full and had only heard about them. He said Musk, whom he had never met, must have a "bruised ego".

In an open letter on Tuesday, Gene Munster, a managing partner at Loup Ventures, said Musk's comment "crossed the line".

Mark Spiegel, an outspoken hedge fund manager who has been betting on Tesla's stock falling for years, said the tweets are showing Musk's fans his true personality.

Last month, he alleged sabotage at Tesla's operations by an employee, who responded by claiming to be a whistleblower.

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