A British diver who called tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s mini-sub a publicity stunt is considering suing tech entrepreneur Elon Musk after the Tesla CEO called him a pedophile in a now-deleted tweet.
Musk called Vernon Unsworth, a British caver who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” on social media as the two continue their tit-for-tat. His tweet came shortly after Unsworth suggested in an interview with CNN that the Tesla CEO should “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
“Never saw this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus) at any point when we were in the caves,” Musk wrote in a tweet Sunday. He added: “we will make [a video] of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”
Thailand is often called a haven for sexual predators. UNICEF estimates that between 60,000 and 200,000 Thai children have been involved in prostitution, though the exact numbers are difficult to track. Musk did not provide evidence for his assertion.
Musk constructed a small submarine from spare SpaceX Falcon parts to help save a 12-member soccer team stuck in the flooded Tham Luang cave. Rescuers finished yanking members from the cave Tuesday without help from the submersible. Thailand ultimately used Navy SEALs to save the soccer team.
But Thai Navy officials downplayed the sub’s usefulness. “I assure you that the equipment he brought to help us is not practical for our mission,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue mission, told reporters Tuesday. “Even though the equipment has state of the art technology, it does not fit our mission in the cave.”
Unsworth and Musk’s tiff follows a report Saturday showing Musk plowed $38,900 last quarter into a PAC aimed at maintaining Republican control of the House, according to federal election commission data.
Some in the media believe the donation to the PAC Protect the House is evidence Musk is a closeted conservative. The report also upset several celebrities who have sunk their stock in Tesla. “Elon noooooooooooo!! I was buying tons of shares and now I feel so betrayed!!” actor John Leguizamo wrote on social media that included a link to an article on Musk.
CNN and other media outlets have been engaging in a brutal back-and-forth with Musk over the California billionaire’s continued criticisms of the press. CNN tech reporter Dylan Byers, for instance, suggested in a May article that Musk a “thin-skinned bully who isn’t as smart as we thought or hoped.”
Some of the bad blood between Musk and the media can be traced back to an unusual Tesla earnings call the CEO conducted in April. He engaged in a combative argument with reporters on the call, which culminated in Musk calling reporters “boneheaded” for asking questions about problems plaguing the electric automaker. (RELATED: ‘Unusual’: Elon Musk Appears To Have Nervous Breakdown During Bizarre Tesla Earnings Call)
“Excuse me. Next. Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?” he said after an analyst from Bernstein lobbed a volley of questions at Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s chief financial officer, about capital expenditures. Musk then shut down another analyst for asking what he determined silly and “dry” questions.
The analysts on the call were asking a series of questions about aspects of Tesla’s business model, which has been scrutinized recently for failing to meet crucial sales deadlines. The company’s Model 3 vehicle, which many argued was the car that would thrust Tesla into the automotive industry elite, has sputtered, flopped and failed to hit the sales marks Musk previously promised.
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