Tesla CEO Elon Musk Sued By British Diver Over “Pedo Guy” Claims
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued for defamation by a British diver involved with the recent high-profile rescue of children trapped in a cave in Thailand.
The diver, Vernon Unsworth, filed the lawsuit on Monday in federal court in Los Angeles over Musk’s recent allegations that the diver was a pedophile, among other claims.
In a tweet in July, Musk referred to Unsworth as a “pedo guy” after Unsworth criticized Musk’s plans to use a small submarine to help rescue Thai youths stranded in a cave. Although Musk later apologized to the diver via Twitter, Musk later revisited his claims on Twitter during an argument with a former journalist and also in several email exchanges with a Buzzfeed News reporter.
In an email exchange with Buzzfeed News, Musk doubled down on his original claims that Unsworth was a pedophile and alleged without evidence that the diver moved to an area of Thailand “for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
Musk also said in the emails, “I fucking hope he sues me.”
In the lawsuit, Unsworth argued that much of what Musk said was untrue. “Mr. Unsworth is not pedophile. Mr. Unsworth has never engaged in an act of pedophilia. Mr. Unsworth is not a child rapist. Mr Unsworth is not married to a 12-year old child.”
The diver seeks at least $75,000 in compensatory damages, and that Musk be ordered to stop making false statements about him.
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Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Fortune.