Space X CEO, Elon Musk’s tweets calling the caver Vernon Unsworth, who was responsible for the rescuing 13 people from a cave in Thailand, a “pedo guy” was not defamation, a jury found on December 6. Due to the verdict, Musk will not be liable for any damages. The decision took place in light of the defamation laws.
The points argued by the defense, during the proceedings were:
“As soon as we got to point two, which was about being acquainted [with Unsworth], we decided,” Carl Shusterman, one of the eight members of the jury, told Buzzfeed News. “The people that read Musk’s tweet wouldn’t have known who he was talking about.”
While, leaving the courtroom, Elon Musk told media, “my faith in humanity is restored.” His lawyer, Alex Spiro, also remarked that, “The jury did the right thing.”
The lawsuit kicked off, back in July of 2018, after a Thai football team and their coach were trapped inside a vast cave system. Unsworth, an avid caver who had extensive knowledge of the cave, assisted in the rescue mission. Musk, who had also built a (small submarine vessel) “minisub,” which could be used as a plan B for the rescue mission, in case the plan to drug the boys and swim them out using divers, which succeeded, didn’t work out.
In an interview with US media, Unsworth stated that he saw Musk’s involvement as a “PR stunt”
Musk called Unsworth “pedo guy” (Implying, that he fit the physical profile of a Pedophilie), but later testified that he didn’t know about Unsworth’s involvement in the rescue, thinking that he was just some “ex-pat” (expatriate) living in Thailand.
In his first tweet, he had called Unsworth a (suspect) “sus.” Musk in his last tweet wrote “sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.” The tweets were “obviously a very off-the-cuff response,” and Musk deleted them and apologized for them.
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17 November, 2019