In a couple of tweets, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO said he had spoken in anger and that his actions against Vernon Unsworth, a British rescue worker who helped bring the 12 Thai boys and their football coach, were not justified.
But Musk’s tweets fall short of a full and satisfying apology. Instead, they are the latest shining example of the non-apology apology, a literary genre that Silicon Valley tech bros have truly made their own.
Let’s recap: Musk’s non-apology apology comes after a tense week in which the world followed the daring rescue of 12 Thai boys and their football coach, who had become trapped in a cave in Chiang Rai after it flooded. While an international team of rescuers worked on a plan to bring the boys out, Musk began testing his own idea – a mini-submarine made of rocket parts that could fit a child inside.
Musk made a lot of his attempt to swoop in as the football team’s saviour, posting videos of pool tests using the sub and flying to Thailand himself to deliver it. On July 10, Musk posted a picture on Twitter from the caves and said he would leave the mini-sub there in case it turned out useful. The sub was not used, and divers managed to escort the 13 stranded footballers out of the cave system.