Mon. Dec 9th, 2019

Elon Musk explains why he called a heroic British cave diver ‘pedo guy’

2 min read

epa08042640 Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk leaves after the first day of a trial against British diver Vernon Unsworth at the United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, California, USA, 03 December 2019. Unsworth has taken Musk to court on the grounds of defamation after Musk accused him of being a pedophile during the rescue of 13 people from a flooded Thai cave in July 2018. EPA/CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA

Elon Musk leaves court after the first day of his defamation trial (Source: EPA)

Elon Musk has spoken out to reveal why he dubbed a heroic British rescue diver ‘pedo guy’.

The billionaire appeared at a defamation trial yesterday brought by Vernon Unsworth, who shot to fame after leading the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach who became stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand last year.

Musk famously designed a submarine to help save the kids, but his offer of help was rebuffed by Unsworth who said the offer was a ‘PR stunt’ and that Musk should ‘stick his submarine where it hurts’.

This prompted Elon to unleash a barrage of tweets including one which labelled the diver ‘pedo guy’.

In court, the Tesla and SpaceX founder said the slur was not meant to be taken literally and was a response to an ‘unprovoked’ insult.

He also apologised to Unsworth, who is seeking an unspecified sum in damages at a defamation case and said the slur harmed his reputation.

Musk later said sorry and insisted ‘pedo’ was a common insult in South Africa, the country where he grew up.

epa08042642 British diver Vernon Unsworth arrives for the first day of trial against Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the United States Courthouse in Los Angeles, California, USA, 03 December 2019. Unsworth has taken Musk to court on the grounds of defamation after Musk accused him of being a pedophile during the rescue of 13 people from a flooded Thai cave in July 2018. EPA/CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA

British diver Vernon Unsworth arriving at court (Image: EPA)

In court, Musk said his tweet was written after ‘an unprovoked attack on what was a good-natured attempt to help the kids’.

‘It was wrong and insulting, and so I insulted him back,’ Musk said.

‘I thought he was just some random creepy guy’ who was ‘unrelated to the rescue’, he continued.

Musk then said he did not mean for the tweet to be taken literally.

‘I assume he did not mean to sodomize me with a submarine … Just as I didn’t literally mean he was a paedophile,” he said.

“I apologised in a tweet and again in the (pretrial) deposition, and I’ll say it again – I apologize to Mr. Unsworth.’

‘People say a lot of things on Twitter that aren’t true,’ Musk added.

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