Elon Musk has stated he didn’t mean to accuse a British diver of paedophilia. The entrepeneur says he was instead implying he was a “creepy old man” when he Tweeted the term “Pedo Guy” in reference to the UK diver.
The billionaire is being sued by Vernon Unsworth. That’s the diver who assisted with the dangerous underwater rescue of the juvenile football players trapped in a Thailand cave.
When Mr Unsworth dismissed Musk’s offer of assistance in the incident as a publicity stunt, the Tesla CEO dubbed the diver a “pedo guy” in a tweet.
Mr Unsworth, who strongly refutes the allegations is suing Musk for defamation. Lawyers acting on behalf of Musk are arguing the term “pedo guy” was not an actual accusation of being a paedophile.
His lawyers argue his tweet cannot be defamatory because the statement was not made with “malice”, a requirement of the US constitution’s First Amendment.
According to legal documents submitted to a California court, lawyers argue that “pedo guy” was a “common insult” used during Musk’s early days in South Africa.
The lawyers go on to say that Musk thought it was similar to “creepy old man” and “aimed at insulting one’s appearance and demeanour”.
The representatives for Musk go on to say: “There is no evidence that Mr Musk intended or believed that his July 15 tweets, that Mr Unsworth was ‘sus’ or ‘pedo guy’, would be interpreted as fact.”
“To the contrary, the evidence is that Mr Musk believed and intended his statements to be read as what they were: bare insults.”
According to the AP via Breaking News, Musk sent further tweets after the “pedo guy” post, including one saying he would wager someone a “signed dollar” the alleged accusation was actually true.
The lawsuit also reveals Musk hired a private investigator to probe Mr Unsworth’s background.