Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Elon Musk sued for libel by British Thai cave rescuer

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Faye Gross | 18 September, 2018, 05:27

Vernon Unsworth alleges that Musk falsely accused him on Twitter of being a pedophile.

Vernon Unsworth, a 63-year-old British diver who helped rescue a Thai youth soccer team, filed a suit seeking $75,000 in damages against Musk on Monday in the Central District Court of California.

Musk tweeted to his 22.5 million followers that Unswroth was a "pedo" after Unsworth criticized Musk in a July 13 television interview with CNN about the rescue.

Mr Unsworth became a target for Mr Musk after cave rescuers rejected his offer of a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to rescue the football team.

Asked about the move, Mr Unsworth said it was a "PR stunt" and the tube "had absolutely no chance of working".

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Sunday that the company intends to handle most of its customers' collision repairs at company-run body shops.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding when it will be able to handle the majority of its customers' collision repairs. A separate lawsuit is being filed in London for the damages Unsworth, who is British, suffered in England and Wales, his lawyer said.

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Unsworth is an experienced spelunker who helped save 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand in July.

Two days after the Aug 28 tweet, Musk emailed a BuzzFeed News reporter, suggesting that the reporter investigate Mr Unsworth and "stop defending child rapists", according to the lawsuit, which is 65 pages with exhibits.

Mr Unsworth did not take part in the dives but had previously explored the cave complex extensively.

The first amendment of the United States Constitution which protects free speech makes defamation a challenging legal action to bring.

"Mr Mr Unsworth is not a paedophile".

He resurfaced the controversy earlier this month saying it was "strange" that Unsworth had not sued him over the comments. Mr Unsworth is not a child rapist, ' the lawsuit said, adding that Mr Unsworth has never been married to a minor. He started going to Thailand in 2011, where he explored and mapped caves, the documents said.

However, he said that did not justify Mr Musk's use of Twitter and the media to defame him.

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