News & Politics

Tech Emperor and Billionaire Elon Musk Personally Cancels Customer's Order Over 'Rude' Post

Technology now allows for tech CEOs to express Napoleon complexes right down to the level of the individual consumer.

Silicon Valley rockstar, noted space explorer and billionaire CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk recently bragged about his plans to colonize Mars. But this week he managed his boldest feat yet: being the most petty man in the universe.

Musk was the subject of an angry post from Venture capitalist Stewart Alsop after a botched launch event. In return, Musk canceled Alsop’s order for a Tesla car for being “rude.” As the Guardian reports:

...the letter listed Alsop’s issues with the event: it started late, it focused too much on safety, and it was so packed that even people like Alsop, who had placed a $5,000 deposit on the car (which was originally supposed to ship in 2013, but had only delivered 208 cars by the end of 2015), didn’t get the chance to test drive it…

In a follow-up post, “Banned By Tesla!”, Alsop relayed his phone conversation with Musk: “I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.”

How dare Alsop cross the great Elon Musk, who appears not to think much of his over-the-top reaction, tweeting out the following day, “Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention.”

Alsop was baffled, writing, “I must also admit that I am a little taken aback to be banned by Tesla. When I wrote a blog post about my BMW X1 called 'My Car Makes Me Feel Stoopid,' the CEO of BMW didn’t take the car back. And in the many articles and posts I have written criticizing products, companies and people, I have never been banned from doing business with any of the companies!”

The main gripe, that Tesla has fallen way behind on orders, is a particularly sensitive one for Musk, who has done his best to put a good face on Tesla's history of overpromising and underdelivering. The Silicon Valley strongman has taken to Twitter before to defend his company and go after critics, tweeting, "Tesla gets top rating of any company in service. Most important, CR says 97% of owners expect their next car to be a Tesla," after a 2015 Consumer Reports article questioned Tesla's reliability.

Alsop, for his part, seems to be taking it in stride, quipping in his followup post, "I guess this means I probably won’t be allowed to buy a SpaceX Dragon, either."

Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst at FAIR and contributing writer for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @AdamJohnsonNYC.

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