Elon Musk has piled on previous accusations of pedophilia against Vernon Unsworth, a Briton who has lived for many years in Thailand, and who used his diving expertise to assist in the remarkable cave rescue of all 12 members of a soccer team and their coach in July.
In emails to Buzzfeed News reported Tuesday, Musk repeated previous accusations—including one for which he had publicly apologized—and added new ones. He provided no evidence to Buzzfeed, but told reporter Ryan Mac, “find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole.”
Tesla did not respond to a request from Fortune for comment.
Musk’s latest outburst comes on top of many incidents in which the Tesla CEO seemingly acted impetuously, without evidence, and with apparent disregard for both norms of business and possibly securities regulations. The SEC reportedly has an investigation open into Musk’s statement that he would take Tesla private and had funding secured, which, if a violation were found, could lead to his disqualification to serve as the director of a publicly traded company.
In a series of emails to Buzzfeed, Musk asserted that Unsworth moved to a location in Thailand because of a “child bride” who was “12 years old at the time,” and that the area he moved to was only known for “child sex-trafficking” not for cave diving. He stated that other members of the rescue team “refused to hang out with him,” and that Musk never saw Unsworth during his visit to the cave. Unsworth reportedly lives part of the year in Thailand and part in the United Kingdom.
Buzzfeed was unable to validate any of Musk’s claims. Other divers and specialists involved in the rescue told Buzzfeed that Unsworth, a cave explorer, was continuously involved and “vital to the operation.” Unsworth, in a statement released by his attorney, again denied all accusations of pedophilia.
Musk labeled the emails variously “for background” and “off the record,” but Buzzfeed said it had not agreed to those terms. Verbal, written, and digital interactions with news reporters are considered on the record for direct and full quotation unless both the subject and publication have agreed in advance to other terms.
Musk also called the threat of a defamation lawsuit “alleged,” and that it had “magically appeared” when he raised the issue on Twitter. Unsworth’s attorney, Lin Wood, posted a letter dated August 6 on Twitter that advised Musk of an intent to sue that the lawyer said was sent to his SpaceX office.
Unsworth’s attorney told Buzzfeed in a statement, “Pedophilia is too serious an issue to leave unchallenged. If Mr. Musk believes his wealth affords him protection from his lies and Twibels, he is sadly mistaken.”
Correction: In the original article, Unsworth was described as American.