Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is under serious political stress these days. Musk is facing a defamation lawsuit filed against him by Vernon Unsworth, the British cave rescuer who accused Musk of calling him a pedophile. Recently, Elon Musk filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
An argument between Elon Musk and Unsworth began soon after the rescuer gave an interview to CNN. The interview was conducted to praise the diver for his exceptional efforts to save a soccer team of 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in the cave in Thailand. The British diver said in his interview that a submarine provided by Musk and his team was completely useless and it was not at all helpful in the rescue operation.
“He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine, I believe, was about 5ft 6in long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone around corners or round any obstacles.”
Also, he described the Musk’s effort to rescue as a “PR stunt.”
The submarine was 5-6 feet long, and rigid, which means it could not have navigated around obstacles or tight turns inside the cave. The statement seemed to infuriate Musk, who took on Twitter to respond and called Unsworth “pedo guy.” He also said, “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”
Soon after this tweet, the British Diver Unsworth declared legal action against Tesla’s CEO saying:
“I believe he’s called me a pedophile. I think people realize what sort of guy [Musk] is.”
When asked if he was willing to take action against Musk, Unsworth replied: “Yes, it’s not finished.”
Soon after Unsworth filed his lawsuit Musk took Twitter to apologize for what he said. The apology came the very next day after Tesla’s share prices dropped. The apology was visible to only a few followers of Musk’s official Twitter account. The rest were not able to see it. Musk clarified that his statements were due to Unsworth’s statement about the small submarine, saying that it has no chance of working and Musk should stick his submarine where it hurts.
Musk admitted that:
“his actions against me do not justify my actions against him and for that, I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies that I represent as a leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.”
Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 18, 2018
But things didn’t sit well with a lot of Twitter followers. Some even accused Musk racism.
Musk has now filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming:
“ Statements on un-moderated internet forums are presumptively opinion.”
We don’t know yet if the motion to dismiss will be successful. Of course, the statement Musk made about Unsworth on Twitter is not at all credible, but whether it is protected by free speech or was damaging in some legal way remains to be seen.
You can view the entire movement that Musk issued here.