Elon Musk going to trial for calling British diver a 'pedo guy'
Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskBezos-owned company wants manned moon mission in 2024 On The Money: Trump wants Moore on Fed despite controversy | Senate GOP women pose obstacle to Moore | Polls highlight economic worries for Trump | House Dems reject Trump cuts with Labor-Health spending bill | Warren trolls Chase Bank over viral tweet Tesla says it may seek alternative sources of financing MORE will go to trial over a defamation claim from a British diver who was involved in the rescue of a soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand, a judge ruled Friday.
In court filings Friday first reported by The Verge, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson wrote that “[a] reasonable fact-finder could easily conclude that [Musk’s] statements … implied assertions of objective fact,” referring to Musk’s now-deleted tweets and emails to BuzzFeed News that claimed the plaintiff, Vernon Unsworth, was a pedophile.
Musk referred to Unsworth, who was involved in the rescue of several young boys trapped in a flooded cave last year, as a “pedo guy” on his Twitter account, which is followed by millions of users, and later doubled down, writing: “bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”
In an email to a BuzzFeed News reporter, Musk implied that Unsworth had moved to Thailand in the hopes of finding a child bride while viciously attacking the reporter for “defending” Unsworth.
“I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole,” Musk wrote, according to BuzzFeed. “He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
Wilson pointed to Musk’s statements to the BuzzFeed reporter as a key reason why Musk’s defense of using hyperbole was insufficient in the court filings.
“There is nothing about the context in which Defendant made the statements—in emails to a specific reporter—that would create doubt as to whether Defendant’s statements implied assertions of objective fact,” Wilson wrote.
“Indeed, Defendant made his statements to a member of the news media, whose job is to uncover and collect facts,” he added.
The Tesla CEO has a history of questionable Twitter antics that lead to repercussions. In 2017, Musk settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission after tweeting that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share, a statement that was found to have been made in advance of any funding being secured.
Musk’s trial date is set for Oct. 22.