US judge denies legal request by Tesla boss to dismiss Vernon Unsworth’s defamation complaint
Elon Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, will face the music after his controversial tweets about one of the rescuers of the Thai boy football team that were trapped in a flooded cave in 2018.
A US judge has refused to dismiss the defamation complaint filed by British cave diver Vernon Unsworth, meaning Musk will now face a lawsuit over his ‘pedo guy’ tweet.
Last week Musk and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reached a settlement of Musk’s use of Twitter. Musk has agreed to submit public statements about the company’s finances to vetting by its legal counsel before publishing them.
But this 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.
But according to Bloomberg, last Friday a federal judge on Los Angeles ruled that Musk cannot hide behind an “imaginative insult” defence to escape Unsworth’s lawsuit.
The judge reportedly said a written ruling explaining his order would come later.
The case is Unsworth v. Musk, 18-cv-08048, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles)
Musk had come under fire for his outbursts on Twitter in 2018,
But Musk 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!