Musk vs Unsworth
British cave diver, Vernon Unsworth sued Elon Musk, Tesla CEO for slandering his name and ruining his reputation. Musk made multiple remarks stating that Unsworth is a pedophile. Musk tried to get the judge to dismiss the claim, trying to say that there wasn’t a real accusation being made. The judge rejected Musk’s attempt to dissolve the case. This defamation case will go to trial on October 22nd.
Last year after the rescue of a soccer team that got trapped in a cave in Thailand, Musk and Unsworth got into a feud. Musk’s plan to save the team with a “kid-sized submarine” seemed equivocal to Unsworth, who was assisting in helping to rescue the team. Musk came back at him through Twitter by tweeting that Unsworth was a “pedo guy”. He followed up with another tweet saying “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true”. Musk explained to Buzzed that it was insinuating that Unsworth moved to Thailand “for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
Opinions or derogatory hyperbole doesn’t count as defamation. The judge explained that if Musk had just simply tweeted what he did and left it at that, he would have a much better case. Musk did not do this though, he went to Buzzed and he “purported to convey actual facts and even suggested that the BuzzFeed reporter call people in Thailand to confirm his narrative.”
The pre-trial conference will take place on 7th October. This isn’t the first time Musk’s tweets had landed him in a court trial. The US Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of tweeting misleading financial statements recently, which ended up going to court. This lawsuit was settled.