Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has apologised for calling the British diver who helped in the Thai cave rescue a "paedophile".
Vernon Unsworth had said previously that he would be seeking legal advice over the slur, which Musk made in a tweet, and that he had been approached by British and American lawyers.
The row began last week after Unsworth said in a television interview that he believed the tycoon's interest in the mission to save the 12 trapped boys and their football coach was a “PR stunt”.
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Musk reportedly brought a “hastily built” mini-sub to the mouth of the flooded cave, in northern Thailand, shortly before divers rescued the group.
Unsworth said in the interview that Musk's mini-submarine strategy "had absolutely no chance of working".
In a Twitter rant on Sunday, Musk then attacked Unsworth, referring to the rescuer as a “paedo”.
Today, Musk issued a public apology to Unsworth, in a reply to another Twitter user. He said: “My words were spoken in anger after Mr Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader.”
He added: “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.”
Prior to the apology, Unsworth told journalists that the remarks about him were an attack on the entire rescue crew.
“I believe he’s called me a paedophile,” he said. “I think people realise what sort of guy [Musk] is.”
Asked if he would consider taking legal action against Musk, he told reporters: “Yes, it’s not finished.”
Some have questioned the timing of Musk’s apology, with Gizmodo reporting that his electric vehicles company Tesla “dipped 3% on Monday” following the slur.
It’s unclear if Unsworth “will still follow through on a lawsuit, nor is it clear if Musk has actually apologized to Unsworth personally”, the news site adds.
Unsworth told Reuters that he was aware of Musk’s apology, but refused to comment about a possible settlement or legal action.
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