Elon Musk has been pretty quiet on Twitter ever since he called one of the cave divers in Thailand a paedophile. He deleted the tweets, but the diver, Vernon Unsworth, said he was considering legal action for the unfounded claims. But now Musk has apologised. Sort of.
Musk’s half-hearted apology came in the form of a response to another person’s tweet. That tweet defends Musk’s actions in Thailand and claims that “journalism is dead.” The tweet also links out to a Quora post that describes media coverage of Musk as a “fake news” conspiracy.
Finally a thorough piece of reporting on the @elonmusk Thai submarine fiasco. By a non-reporter.
Journalism is dead. But if we can fight to distribute pieces like this, with high-signal-to-noise ratio, we can resurrect.https://t.co/3hZEvG3kKZ
— Adam Chavez (@adamchavez) July 17, 2018
Musk’s half-arsed apology starts by explaining that his words were “spoken in anger” because Unsworth had “said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub.” Unsworth had angered Musk by saying that the billionaire’s mini-sub was a “PR stunt” and had “no chance of working.” Unsworth told media outlets that Musk can “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
Musk went on to say that he built the mini-sub “as an act of kindness,” and that his sub met with specifications from the dive team leader. However, many experts on the ground suggested that Musk’s solution was rather ridiculous.
In a second tweet, Musk said that “his actions against me do not justify my actions against him” and apologised to Unsworth. In the same sentence he also apologised “to the companies I represent as leader.” Musk finished his apology by saying that “the fault is mind and mine alone.”
As this well-written article suggests, my words were spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
Why would Musk apologise to the companies that he runs, like SpaceX and Tesla? Probably because his tweets sparked a massive sell-off in shares of his car company. Tesla dipped three per cent on Monday after Musk’s initial tweets that baselessly accused Unsworth of being a paedophile. Musk had used the term “pedo guy” and had doubled down on the accusation after multiple people online had told him to chill out.
It’s unclear if Unworth will still follow through on a lawsuit, nor is it clear if Musk has actually apologised to Unsworth personally. What is clear is that Musk has virtually nothing to gain and everything to lose by spending his time on Twitter. If he knew what was good for him he’d sign off forever. But he clearly gets something out of Twitter that he can’t get anywhere else.
Is it constant adulation from fans who come to his defence no matter how stupid he acts? We can only speculate at this point. But yes. Definitely, 100 per cent, yes.