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Tesla's Stock Under Pressure After Musk Renews Attack On British Cavediver

Tesla's Stock Under Pressure After Musk Renews Attack On British Cavediver

Some want him to step down. Others want him to just stop talking.

But Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk continues to dent the profile of the otherwise sleek automaker with his unfiltered, non-PC prattling.

What Happened

Despite having apologized for similar remarks in July, Musk resumed his defamation of a British cave diver who helped rescue the Thai soccer team. Musk had accused Vernon Unsworth of pedophilia after Unsworth rejected a Tesla-made submarine to aid in the rescue efforts.

In recent “off the record” emails to BuzzFeed, Musk “made new and specific claims, lambasting the rescuer as a ‘child rapist’ who had moved to the Southeast Asian country to take a child bride,” according to a Tuesday BuzzFeed report.

Unsworth’s attorney reportedly said Musk’s conduct “demonstrates that his recklessness is intentional and designed to harm Mr. Unsworth,” and a civil complaint has been prepped.

“I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f*****g a*****e," Musk told BuzzFeed in an email (edited here for profanity). "As for this alleged threat of a lawsuit, which magically appeared when I raised the issue (nothing was sent or raised beforehand), I f*****g hope he sues me."

Why It’s Important

Not only does Musk face the threat of legal action for the calumny, but the testimony may fuel critics calling for his ouster from Tesla leadership. The CEO’s uncontrolled chatter and erratic behavior have caused wild movements in stock price and drawn regulatory scrutiny burdensome to the board and shareholders.

Tesla’s stock has been particularly sensitive to Musk’s movements, having closed down almost 3 percent after the last attack on Unsworth. On Tuesday, Tesla traded down 1.8 percent.

What’s Next

At time of publication, neither Musk nor the Tesla board had yet publicly addressed BuzzFeed’s claims. The status of Unsworth’s legal action is unknown.

Tesla shares traded around $279.86 at time of publication, down 3.1 percent.

Related Links:

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Tesla Zaps Go-Private Plans; Wall Street Reacts


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