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Musk: Here's Why I Called Diver 'Pedo Guy'

Tesla CEO says Vernon Unsworth insulted him first
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2019 6:40 PM CST
Updated Dec 4, 2019 1:21 AM CST
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk, right, arrives at federal court, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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(Newser) – Elon Musk took the stand Tuesday in the defamation trial against him, and explained why he infamously called a British diver "pedo guy." Vernon Unsworth, who helped in last year's dramatic Thailand cave rescue, had mocked the Tesla CEO's idea to build a mini-submarine to get the dozen boys and their soccer coach out of the cave. Musk said during the Los Angeles trial that those comments amounted to an "unprovoked attack" against him that was "wrong and insulting," and that he didn't realize at the time Unsworth was actually involved in the rescue effort himself. Unsworth is suing Musk in federal court, seeking unspecified damages, the AP reports.

Musk further testified that just as Unsworth was not being literal when he suggested Musk stick his submarine "where it hurts," Musk was only being figurative with his "pedo guy" remark on Twitter, and was not actually accusing Unsworth of being a pedophile. Musk's attorney similarly told the jury of five men and three women that it was Unsworth who started the fight, which he referred to as a series of "joking, taunting tweets" between the two men. CNBC reports Musk "started testimony with his arms tightly crossed in front of him sporting a dark suit, and occasionally sipping water." (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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