Elon Musk has gone and got himself sued.
It’s been threatened for awhile, but yesterday it finally became reality, as British diver Vernon Unsworth filed suit against the Tesla CEO in the U.S. States District Court for the Central District of California over a July tweet in which he dubbed the rescue diver a “pedo guy.”
Unsworth, dubbed a “hero” by many for his role in rescuing 12 Thai boys and their football coach from a flooded Thai cave, is suing for defamation not only over the tweet, but a subsequent interview with Buzzfeed News in which the tech guru referred to the diver as a “child rapist,” according to the court document obtained by Courthouse News.
In the Buzzfeed article, Musk accused Unsworth — who is seeking US$75,000 compensation — of taking a 12-year-old bride, an allegation scoffed at by Unsworth’s long-term Thai girlfriend, Woranan Ratrawiphukkun, when contacted by Coconuts Bangkok earlier this month.
The feud first began when Unsworth said in an interview that Musk’s offer to provide a mini-submarine to aid in the boys’ evacuation was a “PR stunt” and that he could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
“It absolutely had no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like,” Unsworth told CNN in an interview published on Jul 14.
“It wouldn’t have made the first 50 meters into the cave from the dive start point. Just a PR stunt.”
Just a day later, went on the infamous Twitter rant in which he defended his sub and declared Unsworth a “pedo guy.”
Unsworth says he also plans to file lawsuits with the English and Welsh courts for reputational damage in the UK.
“Elon Musk falsely accused Vernon Unsworth of being guilty of heinous crimes,” L. Lin Wood, a lawyer for Unsworth said in a statement sent to media. “Musk’s influence and wealth cannot convert his lies into truth or protect him from accountability.”
While Musk has been active on Twitter, neither he nor his company have responded to the lawsuit.