Elon Musk has been pretty quiet on Twitter ever since he called one of the cave divers in Thailand a pedophile. He deleted the tweets, but the diver, Vernon Unsworth, said he was considering legal action for the unfounded claims. But now Musk has apologized. 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.
Musk’s half-assed 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 apologized to Unsworth. In the same sentence he also apologized “to the companies I represent as leader.” Musk finished his apology by saying that “the fault is mine and mine alone.”
Why would Musk apologize 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 percent on Monday after Musk’s initial tweets that baselessly accused Unsworth of being a pedophile. 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 apologized 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 defense no matter how stupid he acts? We can only speculate at this point. But yes. Definitely, 100 percent, yes.