Elon Musk Heads To Court Over ‘Pedo’ Tweet

The defamation lawsuit filed against Tesla CEO Elon Musk by British cave diver Vernon Unsworth, launches today in a courtroom in Los Angeles.

Musk was sued earlier this year after his controversial ‘pedo guy’ tweet about one of the rescuers of the Thai boy football team who were trapped in a flooded cave in 2018.

Musk has been in trouble before over his use of Twitter. In April the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached a settlement of Musk’s use of Twitter. Musk agreed to submit public statements about the company’s finances to vetting by its legal counsel before publishing them.

Elon Musk at Tesla’s Autonomy Investor Day, April 2019. Image credit: Tesla

Pedo lawsuit

But this particular case stems from the media attention after a football team of boys in Thailand became trapped in a flooded cave system during June and July 2018.

Musk took exception when one of the rescuers, British caver Unsworth ridiculed the mini-submarine that Musk had built and transported to the location, in an attempt to help free the trapped boys.

During a CNN interview Unsworth said the mini-submarine wasn’t used in the rescue, and that it was a “PR stunt” and that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Musk immediately fired back and labelled the British cave rescuer as a “pedo guy” in a Tweet that has since been taken down.

Unsworth is seeking punitive and compensatory damages, despite Musk tweeting an apology over the matter.

But Musk did not help himself when repeated the claim in an email exchange when he was contacted by Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac.

“Stop defending child rapists,” Musk reportedly wrote to the journalist. He had apparently intended the comments to be off the record, but did not agree that with Ryan Mac prior to emailing his response.

Twitter warzone

Musk had come under fire for his outbursts on Twitter before, most notably in 2018.

The Tesla really got into trouble in August 2018, when out of the blue, he tweeted that was considering taking Tesla private and that he had secured funding to do so.

Those tweets brought Musk to the attention of the SEC and it sued Tesla and sought to ban Musk from acting as an officer or director of a publicly traded company.

How well do you know Twitter? Try our quiz!

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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