SHARES in the US-based luxury electric vehicle brand Tesla dropped in value by 4 percent on Monday, after its CEO Elon Musk called a hero of the recent Thai cave rescue “pedo”.
According to Fortune, the recent erratic behaviour of Musk has “rattled” investors, with Tesla shares sliding 2.8 percent during market hours on Monday and declining a further 1 percent in after-hours trading.
The sharp drop came after Vern Unsworth, a 63-year-old rescue worker who helped 12 junior football players and their coach escape a flooded cave in northern Thailand recently, threatened legal action against Musk.
Unsworth recently said in an interview that Musk should “stick his submarine where it hurts”, referring to the billionaire entrepreneur’s assistance as merely a “PR stunt”.
“He had no conception of what the cave massage was like,” said Unsworth, whose intimate knowledge of the cave was reportedly pivotal to the successful rescue effort. “The submarine, I believe, was about 5 foot 6 long, rigid so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles.”
Musk hit back and baselessly referred to Unsworth as “pedo guy” – short for paedophile – in a heated series of tweets to his 22 million followers on Sunday, sparking threats of legal action from the diver.
“I believe he’s called me a paedophile,” Unsworth said to reporters – while still at the cave site amid a clean-up operation – as quoted by the Guardian. “I think people realise what sort of guy [Musk] is.”
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.”
Even prior to the comments over the weekend, a major investor in Tesla recently urged the company’s CEO to keep “peace and execution”.
The company’s fourth largest shareholder James Anderson told Bloomberg in an interview that rather than launch attacks against his critics, Musk should “concentrate on the core task.”