When you're as successful and as rich as Elon Musk - you know, the real-life Iron Man - you can do just about anything you want, and that includes refusing service to a "rude" customer.
That "rude customer" is venture capitalist Stewart Alsop, who, after attending Tesla's Model X Launch Event in September of 2015, wrote a blog piece on Medium criticizing the Tesla CEO for showing up almost two hours late, causing a major inconvenience for Alsop who took a small road trip just to get to the event.
Here are just a few of the criticisms thrown Musk's way:
"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. [sic]"
"I feel like I was mislead [sic] and mistreated."
"Now I’m wondering. Should I be proud and boastful of being a Model X customer (as I have already been; here’s my first tweet after ordering my Model X)? Should I wonder if there are other problems in managing Tesla as a company? Is this a marketing failure or do you treat your customers like this after they get their car?"
“It would still be nice if you showed some class and apologized to the people who believe in this product.”
That doesn't seem too bad, but once Musk found out about it, obviously he wasn't too happy. Musk reached out to Alsop via telephone, which prompted yet another post on Medium, this one titled "Banned By Tesla!" As one can imagine, the phone call wasn't all that pleasant:
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.
Yes. You read that right. Musk straight up cancelled Alsop's order for a Tesla Model X. Once the Internet caught wind of it, Musk was forced to respond. He tweeted, "Must be a slow news day if denying service to a super rude customer gets this much attention."
Despite the uncomfortable exchanges, Alsop is ultimately upset by the decision as he is still a fan of the brand, saying in his Medium post:
"I am mostly sorry not to be able to participate in the automobile revolution that Tesla started. You have created a car company when everybody decided decades ago that it was not possible. ... And you designed and produced a really beautiful and amazing car along the way!"