Elon Musk sued by Thai cave rescue diver two weeks after saying 'I f--king hope he sues me'

Elon Musk.
(Image credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Tesla founder Elon Musk was hit by a lawsuit Monday, reports BBC, by the British cave diver who he repeatedly called a child abuser.

The diver, Vernon Unsworth, helped rescue the young Thai soccer players who were trapped in a flooded cave in July. He is suing Musk for defamation, seeking financial compensation and an injunction to keep Musk from repeating the claims.

Musk called Unsworth a "pedo" on Twitter after the diver criticized Musk for creating an unnecessary mini submarine to aid in the rescue. Unsworth said the submarine was a "PR stunt" from Musk, and Musk responded by insisting the device would be helpful and suggesting Unsworth was a predator. "We will make [a video] of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo," Musk wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it." The billionaire apologized, but then accused Unsworth of being a "child rapist," saying he moved to Thailand "for a child bride" and writing, "I f--king hope he sues me."

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Unsworth is seeking $75,000 and additional "punitive damages" in a California suit, and he plans to file separate charges in London, reports BBC. "Musk's influence and wealth cannot convert his lies into truth or protect him from accountability for his wrongdoing in a court of law," said Lin Wood, Unsworth's attorney. In order to win a defamation case, Unsworth will need to prove that Musk's statements were false and that they caused him intentional material harm.

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Summer Meza

Summer is news editor at TheWeek.com, and has previously written for Newsweek and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Santa Clara University, she now lives in New York with two cats.