Musk Wins Defamation Suit From Cave Explorer

Tesla CEO said 'pedo guy' tweet didn't really mean 'pedophile'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 6, 2019 5:30 PM CST
Jury Backs Musk on 'Pedo Guy' Tweet
British cave expert Vernon Unsworth, right, arrives at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him "pedo guy" in an angry tweet, a Los Angeles jury found Friday. Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave last year, had angered the Tesla CEO by belittling his effort to help with the rescue as a "PR stunt." Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said Unsworth's comments in an interview with CNN were an unprovoked attack on his sincere efforts to help in the rescue by putting a team of engineers on the job around the clock to design a mini-submarine. He lashed out with a phrase that he insisted only meant "creepy old man," AP reports, and wasn’t literally calling Unsworth a pedophile.

A jury of five women and three men deliberated for less than an hour Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court. Unsworth had testified that he had to sue Musk for defamation because if he didn't, the allegation would seem true. Unsworth helped recruit expert cave divers who helped to free the trapped boys, per the BBC. (One of the rescuers needed to be saved himself earlier this year.)

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