Don’t Mess With Musk

Earlier today, longtime Bay Area venture capitalist Stewart Alsop posted something fairly unexpected to Medium.

In a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk titled “Banned by Tesla,” Alsop wrote of his surprise that Tesla would cancel the Model X he’d ordered and that Alsop has been eagerly awaiting. (Alsop says in the post it was to be red, with black leather seats and Tesla’s Ludicrous Speed option.)

It was no clerical or accounting error. Alsop says that after complaining — also on Medium — about what he viewed as the Model X’s poorly orchestrated launch event back in September (Alsop titled that one, “@ElonMusk, You should be ashamed of yourself”), Musk personally got involved in his order.

Specifically, says Alsop, he canceled it.

We reached out to both Alsop and Tesla earlier to find out more about the incident, which we gather is unprecedented, but have yet to hear back from either.

What we do know, from Alsop’s post, is that the two talked on the phone at some point, at which point Musk told Alsop that he was not comfortable with him owning a Tesla after having been flamed by Alsop publicly.

In fact, says Alsop, Musk has decided that Alsop “can’t own” one of his cars. (We don’t know if Alsop is facing some kind of lifetime ban or if he’s exaggerating based on the cancelation of the car he’d ordered.)

Either way, the alleged move, which seems equal parts petty and peculiar, comes on the heels of another strange story that made the rounds last week, one in which Musk allegedly took possession of a Model S that was slated for delivery to a customer, much to the Florida man’s chagrin. (Musk was reportedly using it as his personal vehicle to test out a new version of Tesla’s autopilot software.)

In the latter case, Tesla apologized, cited “human error,” and said it was “working to ensure that it never happens again.”

Don’t expect an apology this time. We posted this story Monday night; Musk has since tweeted, “Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention.”