The Guardian have reported that when a Twitter user pointed out that Musk was "calling the guy who found the children a pedo", the billionaire responded: "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true". "I'm getting lots of people contacting me and saying "Vern don't let this get you down - you're still a hero and what you've done is great", Mr Unsworth said. "The "billionaire" label, when used by media, is nearly always meant to devalue and denigrate the subject", he tweeted. Tesla is worth more than $52 billion, largely on the promise of Musk's genius.
Spokespeople at Musk's companies, Tesla and SpaceX, have not replied to requests for comment on his tweets or the possibility of a libel lawsuit.
He added the comments about him were an assault on the whole rescue team. That report came after some criticism of the plan from people who argued that the relatively large submarine would not be able to fit around the tight cave network the boys had to navigate. "The submarine, I believe, was about 5ft 6in long, rigid, so it wouldn't have gone around corners or round any obstacles". Musk had flown to Thailand and offered to assist in the rescue mission of 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave by providing a submarine, but leaders of the operation declined his help.
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Musk must have realized the error of his way immediately after because he deleted the tweets, but its effects still ripple. Musk's role in the rescue was initially unclear.
The company, which has had only two profitable quarters, is deep in debt and will have trouble meeting Musk's prediction of a profit in the second half of this year, Spiegel said.
Mr Unsworth added: "He had no conception of what the cave passage was like".
In an open letter on Tuesday, Gene Munster, a managing partner at Loup Ventures, said Musk's comment "crossed the line".
As Abby Ohlheiser has already chronicled for the Washington Post, Musk accepted the challenge with "a lengthy, live brainstorming process on Twitter", which ended when he traveled to Thailand with a miniature submarine made from rocket parts, tweeted some photos of the cave, left the device there and went home. The following week, he hung up on the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board who called to tell him the agency was booting Tesla representatives from the investigation of a fatal crash involving a Model X driver.