Elon Musk seems like a smart guy. Except when it comes to tweets.
Musk's ill-advised tweets have cost him tens of millions of dollars and even more in his reputation. Investors especially remembered the $20 million fine he incurred for saying he might take Tesla private. Now Musk must answer for calling a cave rescuer a "pedo guy" and a "child rapist." It would be a head-scratcher -- except that's Musk.
Vernon Unsworth, a financial broker and cave explorer, co-led the operation to save 12 schoolboys and their coach from a cave in Thailand last year. The rescue effort drew international attention, including some unsolicited comments from Musk. He proposed sending a submarine to do the job. In media reports, Unsworth said that was a bad idea. He called it a "PR stunt," and told Musk to "stick his submarine where it hurts." Musk went into a twitter rage, and the rest is becoming legal history.
After Musk continued the twitter taunts, Unsworth sued the Tesla tyrant titan for defamation. Musk asked a Los Angeles judge to dismiss it, arguing that he was just expressing his opinion. Unsworth countered that Musk had engaged in "one-sided Twitter warfare, where no one is safe because nobody can be held accountable and all reputations are at grave risk." The judge ruled for Unsworth.
The case will not likely go to trial. Unsworth sued for $75,000, and Musk has paid a lot more than that to settle a stupid tweet. The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Musk and his company $20 million last year for saying he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had secured funding. The SEC said that misled investors.
After agreeing to pay the fine, Musk said it was worth it. But then again, that's Musk.