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Elon Musk canceled a customer’s Model X order for criticizing a Tesla launch event

Published Feb 3rd, 2016 9:41AM EST
Elon Musk Cancels Model X Order

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Much like other larger-than-life CEOs from the tech world, Elon Musk isn’t one to shy away from holding a grudge.

Earlier this week, venture capitalist Stewart Alsop penned a post on Medium appropriately titled Banned By Tesla! The gist of the post is that Alsop ordered a Tesla Model X only to have his order directly cancelled by Musk himself.

Now you might naturally be wondering: What in the world might compel Musk to cancel any Model X order? A sale is a sale, after all, and Tesla needs as many as it can get.

Well, the backstory here is a bit interesting.

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Back in September, Alsop was invited to attend Tesla’s Model X unveiling event. The event itself, in typical Tesla fashion, was running way behind schedule and started nearly two hours later than anticipated. Musk as it turns out didn’t apologize for being tardy and, well, that didn’t sit too well with Aslop.

Following the event, Alsop wrote a scathing post criticizing Musk, and even went so far as to call his ability to deal with customers and run the company into question. The title of the post didn’t really leave much to the imagination as it read, Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself.

Starting a 7:00pm event at 8:50pm is simply unacceptable, particularly when the invited guests are actually your customers! But for you to stand up at 8:52pm and not even acknowledge that you have wasted your own customers’ time was insensitive and poor judgement.

You should have apologized right then, but you didn’t.

Alsop also complained that he ended up driving 2.5 hours round trip just to check out a Model X up close and in person, only to leave without seeing one because his badge number to test drive the Model X was 1,344. And if there’s one thing Alsop doesn’t like to do, apparently, it’s wait.

And so, he left.

“It probably won’t matter that you screwed up this event completely,” Alsop’s post concludes. “It would still be nice if you showed some class and apologized to the people who believe in this product.”


Flash forward five months and we learn that Musk is cut from the same cloth as Steve Jobs, which is to say that he doesn’t forget or forgive. According to Alsop, Musk took his post as a personal attack and, as a result, said he simply wasn’t comfortable selling him a Model X.

Dear @ElonMusk: Thank you for reaching out to me. I heard from our phone conversation that you feel that my post, “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself”, was a personal attack on you. I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.

Quite the saga.

The entirety of Alsop’s most recent piece takes on a conciliatory tone and is worth checking out if your first instinct is to understandably blast Alsop for embodying an entitled Venture Capitalist to a tee. It may not change your opinion on the matter, but Alsop explains that because he put down a $5,000 deposit on the Model X sight unseen, he was expecting a bit more consideration as a paying customer attending a launch event he was invited to by Tesla.

As for Musk’s thoughts on the matter, a single tweet sums it up:

Interestingly enough, this story comes hot on the heels of another story regarding Elon Musk stealing a customer’s ordered Model S. While technically true, that particular story was the result of human error as opposed to malice from Musk.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.