Loose-tongued Tesla chief executive Elon Musk (pictured) says he feared the heroic British cave diver Vernon Unsworth – who worked tirelessly to rescue the trapped children in a Thai cave – might be “another Jeffrey Epstein”.
A deposition to a California court was issued as Musk asked a judge to dismiss the apparently watertight defamation case brought by Unsworth against the tech boss for referring to him as the “pedo guy” on Twitter.
Unsworth’s lawyers told the court that “the evidence is that Mr Musk believed and intended his statements to be read as what they were: bare insults”.
Although a great tech innovator, Musk has struggled to use Twitter correctly.
He also told the court that “pedo guy” was a “common insult used in South Africa when I was growing up. It is synonymous with ‘creepy old man’ and is used to insult a person’s appearance and demeanor, not accuse a person of acts of pedophilia.”
Unsworth had criticised Musk in a television interview for sending a specially made submarine to help rescue the Thai and Burmese football team that was trapped in a flooded cave network.
In response, Musk called Unsworth “sus” (suspicious) and then accused a Buzzfeed journalist, who asked him about the claims, of defending “child rapists”.
He later tweeted that he would bet someone a “signed dollar” that his accusations were true.
Musk’s deposition said his representatives launched an investigation into Unsworth and that the PayPal founder was concerned with what was uncovered.
His deposition said: “And I was like, well, what if this is a real situation? What if what we have here is another Jeffrey Epstein. We should, you know – I have this – I am told this information. I don’t know if it is true. But what if we have another Jeffrey Epstein on our hands? And what if he uses whatever celebrity he gains from this cave rescue to shield his bad deeds? This would be terrible.”
Musk added that the private investigator was “just taking us for a ride”.
Musk said he “mobilised” more than 50 staff from Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Company to help the trapped children. The rescue team in the caves instantly dismissed the solid metal structure as completely impractical for a rescue through tiny, twisting passages.
Musk appears to have been particularly offended when Unsworth told the media that the billionaire could “stick his submarine where it hurts” in July last year.
Musk’s deposition claimed that was not intending to “convey facts” to his millions of Twitter followers.
Elon Musk. Picture credit: Wikimedia