Elon Musk apologized to the British cave diver who was the subject of a slew of insults following last week’s rescue of 12 boys and their coach from a Thai cave.
Musk said his comments against Vernon Unsworth, which included the use of the term “pedo,” were said in anger “after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub.”
“The fault is mine and mine alone,” Musk said.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO had engineers build a mini-submarine to be used to extract the boys since they didn’t know how to swim. The head of the rescue mission Narongsak Osottanakorn declined the offer for assistance, calling Musk’s technology “not practical.”
Professional rescuers ultimately got the boys out using stretchers but Musk decided to leave the sub in Thailand “in case it may be useful in the future.”
Musk’s ire likely stemmed from an interview Unsworth did with CNN during which Unsworth criticized Musk’s idea, calling it “just a PR stunt.”
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth said. “It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like.”
Tesla investors had requested that Musk apologize. James Anderson, a partner at Baillie Gifford, Tesla’s fourth-largest shareholder, told the Guardian that it was “frustrated that the real steps towards this are being overshadowed and undermined by this saga.”
Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm, also published an open letter calling upon Musk to apologize.
“The exchange with Vern Unsworth crossed the line,” said the letter, written by managing partner Gene Munster. “I suspect you would agree given you deleted the string from Twitter, but it will take more than that to regain investor confidence. Your behavior is fueling an unhelpful perception of your leadership – thin-skinned and short-tempered. Thankfully, the road to regaining investor confidence is well traveled. It starts with an apology.”