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Tesla’s Musk Sued For Defamation

Musk urged a BuzzFeed reporter to "stop defending child rapists," and then said Unsworth spent decades in Thailand until moving to Chiang Rai.

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Elon Musk, tesla, tunnel
AI could be first 'resident' of Mars, hints Musk. (Wikimedia Commons)

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, was sued for defamation on Monday for falsely suggesting that a British caver who helped save 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave in July was a pedophile and child rapist.

Vernon Unsworth sued over Musk’s reference to him in a July 15 tweet as a “pedo guy,” a comment for which Musk later apologized. The suit also claims that Musk called Unsworth a child rapist and sex trafficker in an Aug. 30 email to BuzzFeed News.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Musk and the company.

tesla
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Wikimedia.

The complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeks at least $75,000 of compensatory damages, plus unspecified punitive damages.

The case adds to a slew of litigation against Musk, including over his running of Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which the billionaire has said has caused him severe stress.

Unsworth became a target for Musk after cave rescuers rejected Musk’s offer of a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to rescue the soccer team, which was finally freed after 18 days in the cave on July 10.

Though Unsworth told CNN three days later Musk’s offer was a “PR stunt” that had no chance of working and that Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts,” he said that did not justify Musk’s use of Twitter and the media to defame him.

TESLA
Thai cave rescue: Extraction of remaining soccer team members

The July 15 tweet by Musk touted the mini-submarine and then, referring to Unsworth with a shorthand description of pedophile, said, “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”

Musk apologized on July 18, referring to Unsworth in saying “his actions against me do not justify my actions against him,” and that “the fault is mine and mine alone.”

But the complaint said that in the August 30 email, Musk urged a BuzzFeed reporter to “stop defending child rapists,” and then said Unsworth spent decades in Thailand until moving to Chiang Rai, “renowned for child sex-trafficking,” to take a 12-year-old bride.

Also Read: Elon Musk Apologises To UK Driver For Calling Him a ‘Pedo’

Unsworth said all of these accusations were false, and that the defamatory statements “were manufactured out of whole cloth by Musk out of a belief on his part that his wealth and stature allowed him to falsely accuse Mr. Unsworth with impunity” because he disagreed with him about the mini-submarine.

The case is Unsworth v Musk, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-08048. (VOA)

Next Story

Elon Musk Wins in Defamation Trial Over his ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

"Anybody that knows this man knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Elon's accusations were false," Wood said outside court. "This was not the justice that he deserved under the evidence

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Multi-billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk has emerged triumphant from a defamation trial as the federal court jury swiftly rejected the $190 million claim brought against him by a British man over “pedo guy” tweet, who helped with the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooding Thai cave.

Both Musk and Vernon Unsworth were present for the closing remarks.

Musk appeared unhappy during the closing remarks, while Unsworth, whose back was to the jury, at times looked to be wiping tears from his eyes as Spiro spoke, The Verge reported on Friday.

During the last hearing, Musk’s lawyer told the jury the tweet did not rise to the level of defamation and cases over insults didn’t belong in federal courtrooms.

While, leaving the courtroom, Musk told reporters: “My faith in humanity is restored, the jury did the right thing.”

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons

“I accept the jury verdict, take it on the chin, and move on,” Unsworth said outside court.

As per report, in closing remarks, Unsworth’s attorney, L. Lin Wood, characterized one of Musk’s tweets as “sue or true”. Wood said he believed Musk got involved in the Thai cave rescue as a publicity stunt.

“I believe Elon Musk saw an opportunity to capitalize on the attention,” Wood said in his closing statement.

Also Read: Adobe Plans to Buy Oculus Medium: Report

Additionally, Wood asked for $5 million in actual damages, $35 million in assumed damages and $150 million in punitive damages.

“Anybody that knows this man knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Elon’s accusations were false,” Wood said outside court. “This was not the justice that he deserved under the evidence.” (IANS)