A tech billionaire who just couldn’t stop tweeting stupid things may now face legal action after calling a hero cave diver who helped rescue 12 Thai children and their soccer instructor a pedophile.
In July the children and coach were rescued from the Tham Luang Cave after heavy rainfall kept them trapped for weeks. Thai Navy SEALs and volunteers carried out the mission, and Elon Musk — a founder of SpaceX, Tesla and PayPal — seemed desperate to help.
Musk offered to build a mini-submarine to rescue the children, but the head of the mission called it “not practical.” And British rescuer Vern Unsworth called the attempt a “PR stunt.”
“He can stick his submarine where it hurts,” Unsworth said on CNN at the time. “It just had absolutely no chance of working. He had no conception of what the cave passage was like.”
Musk lashed out on Twitter, calling Unsworth a pedophile.
“We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo,” Musk said in a since-deleted tweet. “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”
Musk later apologized, saying he was mad because Unsworth “suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub.”
But everything was reignited on Tuesday, when ― after saying he totally, definitely, for sure didn’t cry during a recent New York Times interview ― Musk further attacked Unsworth, suggesting it was true that he’s a pedophile because he hadn’t tried to sue.
“You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me?” Musk tweeted. “He was offered free legal services.”
Except Musk might be getting sued after all. A report published by BuzzFeed News on Wednesday revealed that Unsworth has retained legal counsel and is preparing to file a civil complaint for libel.
“You published through three different tweets to your twenty-two million followers that Mr. Unsworth engages in the sexual exploitation of Thai children, and you did so at a time when he was working to save the lives of twelve Thai children,” Unsworth’s lawyer L. Lin Wood, an Atlanta-based defamation expert, wrote in a letter obtained by HuffPost. “You did so without any basis. According to a subsequent Twitter post, you did so out of anger.”
The letter, dated Aug. 6, said the possible lawsuit would cover “false and defamatory statements” made by Musk against Unsworth.
Congratulations to Musk, who continues to play himself.