Time for Musk to delete his Twitter account

Tesla chief executive’s reigniting of Unsworth controversy will unnerve board members

Elon Musk: tweeted that he thought it was strange he hadn’t been sued, “even after he [Unsworth] was offered free legal services”. Photograph: Toru Hanal/Reuters

Elon Musk: tweeted that he thought it was strange he hadn’t been sued, “even after he [Unsworth] was offered free legal services”. Photograph: Toru Hanal/Reuters

 

Just when Tesla’s board members thought it was safe to go back on Twitter, bigmouth strikes again. Having faced widespread criticism last month over comments Elon Musk made about a British explorer involved in the rescue of boys from a cave in northern Thailand, the entrepreneur has seemingly returned to the topic.

Last month, Tesla’s chief executive caused controversy after describing Vernon Unsworth as a “pedo” in a tweet after the diver dismissed the entrepreneur’s plan to send a mini-submarine to the Tham Luang cave complex to help with the rescue effort.

The unfounded allegation came after Unsworth said the plan was impractical. Musk responded on Twitter by calling the Unsworth a “pedo guy” and later tweeting, “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true”.

The entrepreneur later deleted the tweets as critics expressed outrage over the unfounded allegation. However, Musk seems to have doubled down on his earlier claims earlier this week when he tweeted that he thought it was strange he hadn’t been sued, “even after he [Unsworth] was offered free legal services”.

“Did you investigate at all? I’m guessing answer is no. Why?” he wrote in subsequent tweets.

Mr Unsworth told Sky News that the matter was being dealt with, suggesting some sort of legal action is under way.

For Tesla shareholders and board members, the matter of Musk’s tweets will have again caused concern as they are just the latest in a long line of recently controversies surrounding the entrepreneur.

Some investors are already suing Musk for tweeting about plans to take Tesla private, a move that led to the company’s shares being temporarily suspended and the entrepreneur facing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

As if that wasn’t enough, claims that Musk was on drugs at the time of the tweet haven’t helped his cause, nor, arguably, has his denial that he wasn’t on them in a recent interview with the New York Times.

While board members have stood by the entrepreneur to date and are no doubt wary of pushing the great man out the door, there is only so much more they are likely to take. If Musk want to stay at the wheel at Tesla, he might be best to delete his Twitter account before he stirs up any more trouble for himself.

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