There’s a term in Canadian politicsÂ â€” “bozo eruption”Â â€” that, according to Wiktionary, refers to the moment when a politician or public figureÂ says something “especiallyÂ ill-consideredÂ andÂ foolish, and which has negativeÂ repercussionsÂ for that individual and for his or herÂ affiliatedÂ group.”
In Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s case, the eruptions seem to be ramping up. Each outburstÂ â€” be it May’s dismissive earnings call, in which he called analysts’ queries “boring” before taking questions from a YouTuber, or this past weekend’s bizarre assertion that one of the Thailand cave rescuers (and Musk mini-sub disliker) is a pedophileÂ â€” has a negative, if hazy, impact on the automaker’s stock price.
The most recent utterance didn’t disappoint, but it seems that pissing off Wall Street types is more consequential than accusing international heroes you’ve never met of sex crimes.
Tesla shares fell about 3.5 percent in Monday trading after Musk’s since-deleted Twitter outburst, which seems to have been provoked by British diver Vernon Unsworth’s assertion that the hastily built mini-sub Musk brought to Thailand was useless for the task of rescuing 12 trapped boys from a flooded cave. In a CNN interview published after last week’s harrowing rescue, Unsworth suggested where Musk could shove that sub.
While the stock’s decline erases about $2 billion from Tesla’s market value, May’s combative analyst call was worse. After that incident, Tesla shares fell over 5 percent.
Still, the out-of-the-blue accusation against Unsworth has investors feeling nervous, Reuters reports. The news agency claims a number of analysts and investors have claimed, off the record, that Musk’s comments are “adding to their concerns” about the CEO’s mounting distractions.
With a good number of Tesla Model 3s now rolling out of a tent, those who remain bullish on Tesla want to see all mental energy expended on turning around the cash-losing automaker. This month’s revelation that Tesla just barely squeaked past its end-of-June Model 3 production goal gave many hope, but concerns about sustained production remain. More promises followed this milestone, and those must be kept. Most important is Musk’s assertion that the company will be cash-positive before the end of the year â€” Tesla needs cash if it plans to go through with the construction of a Chinese assembly plant.
As for the Twitter affair, Unsworth’s wife tells Reuters that the cave diver plans to contact his lawyers upon returning to Britain on July 19th. Neither Musk nor Tesla has issued a comment on the matter.
[Image: Elon Musk/Twitter]