SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk was slammed on social media on Sunday for attacking a British diver who helped rescue the boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, baselessly calling him a “pedo” on Twitter.
Vern Unsworth, the British cave explorer, had said in an interview that Musk’s attempt to help the rescue effort with a “mini-sub” was a “PR stunt”.
Reacting to Unsworth, Musk tweeted on Sunday: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it”.
Twelve boys and their football coach were rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex last week by an international team after a week-long intense drama.
Musk offered to assist the rescue mission by providing a submarine but the request was turned down on the ground that it would be unworkable. He later lashed out saying that he would make a video proving that his “mini-sub” would have been successful, the Guardian reported.
Musk’s controversial tweet was later deleted.
Earlier, Unsworth took on Musk in a widely-shared interview, saying the “mini-sub” “just had absolutely no chance of working”.
“He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine, I believe, was about 5-feet 6-inch long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners or round any obstacles,” Unsworth was quoted as saying.
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.”
Some Twitter users lashed out at Musk, saying how “dangerous” and irresponsible it was to make such a serious allegation and to broadcast a potentially libelous insult to his over 22 million followers.
Musk has repeatedly come under fire for his behaviour on Twitter and for Tesla’s PR strategy, under which it aggressively attacks critics and journalists.