Elon Musk says Sergey Brin’s ex-wife should sue The Wall Street Journal over its report that she had an affair with the Tesla titan.
Both Mr Musk and Nicole Shanahan, through her lawyer, have strongly denied claims made by the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper.
The Journal quoted unnamed sources in reporting that Mr Musk and Ms Shanahan had a brief affair at Art Basel in Miami last December when she was separated from her husband. The Google co-founder filed for divorce in January citing irreconcilable differences.
“Make no mistake, any suggestion that Nicole had an affair with Elon Musk is not only an outright lie but also defamatory,” said Ms Shanahan’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, in a statement earlier this week.
And on Twitter Mr Musk agreed that legal action may become necessary.
“As a ‘public person’, standard to win a defamation lawsuit against a news org is almost impossible. They could say I’m Satan and the ‘source’ is their psychic!” he wrote.
“Nicole is not a public person, so could win. I hope she sues them. (Michael Siconolfi) has done so many fake hit pieces.”
And he added: “Moreover, I talked to Sergey yesterday and he says neither he nor anyone he knows has talked to WSJ.”
Earlier in the week Mr Musk tweeted a picture of himself with Mr Brin at Siconolfi, the paper’s investigations editor, which featured a pants and fire emojis in the caption, seemingly to imply that the journalist is a “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
Mr Musk, a father of 10, has denied the affair in many tweets since the report.
“This is total bs. Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night! I’ve only seen Nicole twice in three years, both times with many other people around. Nothing romantic,” he wrote in one tweet.