Elon Musk asks judge to toss diver's lawsuit in Thai dustup

Elon Musk asks judge to toss diver's lawsuit in Thai dustup

Elon Musk asks judge to toss diver's lawsuit in Thai dustup

Mr Musk's statements were simply "imaginative attacks", and even if they were offensive, such insults are protected by the First Amendment, the filing said.

Musk made a derogatory comment on Twitter about British diver Vern Unsworth, left, who played a key role in the rescue efforts of the Thai soccer team form a cave in Thailand. The only thing that is clear at this point is that Unsworth is seeking at least $75,000 (£59,280 / €65,524) for libel and slander. "In short, the reasonable reader would distinguish Musk's statements from those in which factual information about child sex abuse is conveyed".

Mr Musk's motion to dismiss, filed in court on Wednesday, argues that "the public knew from the outset that his insults were not meant to be statements of fact".

He said he became a target after rescue divers declined to use a mini-submarine offered by Musk's SpaceX rocket company.

After the successful rescue in July, which did not involve Musk's mini-submarine, CNN broadcast an interview in which Unsworth described Musk's plan as a "PR stunt" that had "absolutely no chance of working", and said that Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts". While that's just scratching the surface, one of the more freakish events occurred over the summer when he called a rescue worker a "pedo guy".

Mr Musk later deleted his tweets about Mr Unsworth and apologised, tweeting that his words were "spoken in anger" and that the sub was built out of kindness according to specifications from the dive team leader.

Lawyers for Musk claim people 'expect to read opinions not facts' on Twitter
Lawyers for Musk claim people 'expect to read opinions not facts' on Twitter

"I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what's actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f***ing a**hole", Musk wrote in an email.

Musk claims he designated that email as "off the record", though BuzzFeed says it never agreed to that condition.

"He's an old, single white guy from England who's been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time", Musk also wrote.

A lawsuit was subsequently filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Unsworth's attorney pushed back against Musk's attempt to dismiss the suit. "I entirely reject Mr. Musk's frivolous contention that all statements published on Twitter or other social media are protected speech", Lin Wood told CNBC. "I am confident the trial court will likewise reject this fanciful position".


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