There are many stories that take a shot at the mantle of ‘most 2018 yarn out’, but an unbelievably strong contender has definitely got to be Elon Musk calling a hero cave diver a ‘pedo’ because he dared to criticise Musk’s hacked together and largely useless rescue submarine.

After the diver Vern Unsworth told reporters that he was very much considering legal action for the baseless slur, it seems that Tesla shareholders are responding. Tesla share price has fallen more than 3 percent since Musk’s spat with the diver, landing at roughly $US307 in after-hours trading.

That share drop has shaved almost US$2 billion off the company’s market value. It’s part of a larger 16 percent drop over the last month, which is rough for a company which almost entirely depends on investor confidence to keep it afloat.

The Washington Post quotes a number of prominent Tesla shareholders who are increasingly worried about Musk’s increasingly weird online behaviour, and its possible effect on the company’s fortunes going forward. Here’s Gordon Johnson, the managing director of Vertical Group:

This thing is unraveling. You had a very big shareholder last week say they want him to focus on executing and stop with the tweets — and then, this weekend, you get more tweets. What’s his angle? What is he doing? […] He keeps promising all of these things, and he keeps missing, and he’s not being held to task.

In an interview last week, Musk promised to keep his online behaviour in check. “I will attempt to be better at this,” he told Bloomberg. “That is my mistake. I will correct it.”

(Obviously this was before he randomly called a hero cave diver a pedophile for no reason, but nobody’s perfect, right?)

There’s been a widespread revolt against Elon’s comments, even among those who respect and admire his quest to provide renewable energy sources. Most seem like they just want an apology at least, which has so far not been forthcoming.

W

Image: Getty Images