News & Opinion | July 16, 2018 12:23 pm

Thai Cave Rescuer May Sue Elon Musk Over Deleted “Pedo” Tweets

Vernon Unsworth, who called Musk's submarine a "PR stunt," considers legal action.

elon musk
(David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk may get sued by one of the Thai cave rescuers after Musk called the man a “pedo.” Musk got involved with the operation to rescue a boys soccer team from a flooded tunnel system in Thailand after one of his Twitter fans suggested, a week and a half into the rescue mission, that Musk build an invention to get the boys out. Musk accepted that challenge, which ended when he traveled to Thailand with a miniature submarine made from rocket parts and left it there.

However, hours later, a dive team began extracting the children and did not use the submarine. But even though many of Musk’s fans lauded his intentions, the submarine also became the butt of many jokes. Musk soon started a “Twitter argument over how much credit he deserved for offering to help save the youths,” writes The Washington Post. Three days after the rescue operation was complete, CNN posted an interview with a British spelunker who had helped locate the boys, Vernon Unsworth, who called Musk’s submarine a “PR stunt.”

In a series of tweets that Musk seems to have since deleted, Musk claimed that he had been repeatedly asked by rescuers to build the sub and suggested that Unsworth did not participate in the rescue operation (he absolutely and crucially had, reports CNN), and Musk insists that sub would have worked. But then, midway through his rant, he inexplicably accuses Unsworth of sex crimes.

“Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it,” Musk wrote, clarifying in a follow-up tweet that he meant “the Brit expat diver” was a pedophile, according to The Washington Post. 

These comments have led Unsworth to consider taking legal action against Musk. The Guardian consulted a legal expert who thought Unsworth had a “cast iron case of libel.”