If you’re “super rude” to Elon Musk, there will be consequences.
Take venture capitalist and former auto journalist Stewart Alsop. After tearing into Musk’s Tesla company in a blog post, the CEO personally canceled Alsop’s order for one of the firm’s Model X SUVs.
It all started back in September when Alsop attended the launch event for the luxury electric vehicle. In a Medium post titled, “Elon Musk, you should be ashamed of yourself,” Alsop complained about the event starting nearly two hours late, and was also unhappy that Musk didn’t offer an apology when he finally appeared.
But that wasn’t all. He lambasted the CEO for presenting an “amateur” slideshow that was overly focused on safety, and even griped about the lack of “real food during dinner time,” a complaint that appears to confirm meal provision as a top priority for auto journalists.
“It probably won’t matter that you screwed up this event completely,” Alsop wrote, adding, “It would still be nice if you showed some class and apologized to the people who believe in this product.”
Some time between September and this week, it appears Musk called Alsop to complain about what he apparently considered to have been a “personal attack,” although in a follow-up open letter posted online this week the VC said he never meant for it to come across like that.
The upshot? Musk canceled Alsop’s car order, an act confirmed by the Tesla boss himself in a tweet in which he said the VC had been “denied service” for being a “super rude customer.”
Alsop responded: “You have decided that I can’t own one of your cars, and I am terribly disappointed. I had outlined in the original post how excited I was at the prospect of owning a Tesla, especially the Model X and especially the configuration I ultimately ordered – the P90D in red with black leather seats and the Ludicrous Speed option….I must also admit that I am a little taken aback to be banned by Tesla.”
While it’s fair to say few people are likely to get too upset about a wealthy customer’s personal spat with a billionaire businessman, Musk’s high profile means his curious customer service move is certain to generate some interest. Do you think he was right to cancel Alsop’s order in the face of a personal attack, or has the VC been treated harshly in this case? Sound off in the comments below.