Elon Musk viciously attacks Chiang Rai cave diver

Entrepreneur Elon Musk (inset) has 'tripled-down' in his attacks on Chiang Mai hero Vernon Unsworth and dared him to sue for defamation. (File photos)
Entrepreneur Elon Musk (inset) has 'tripled-down' in his attacks on Chiang Mai hero Vernon Unsworth and dared him to sue for defamation. (File photos)

Elon Musk has once again attacked the British Chiang Rai resident who helped rescue the Wild Boars boys' football team, this time calling him a "child rapist."

In an email to BuzzFeed News, the Tesla chief executive launched a third attack on cave diver Vernon Unsworth, who called Musk's idea to rescue the trapped boys and their coach with a miniature submarine a "PR stunt."

Musk accused Mr Unsworth in the email of being a "child rapist." The billionaire had previously accused the explorer of being a "pedo" in July. Last month, Musk tweeted that it was "strange" that Mr Unsworth had not sued him for the July comments.

Tesla shares were down 1.1% in premarket trading on Wednesday. Representatives for Musk and three of his companies - Tesla, SpaceX and The Boring Company - did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Musk's initial tweet in July dampened investor sentiment in Tesla, with shares falling on the day due to concerns over the executive's leadership, public image and his presence on Twitter.

Musk told BuzzFeed on Tuesday: "I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what's actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fu**ing ass**le." Musk had said the email was off the record, but BuzzFeed said it didn't agree to the condition.

A series of tweets from Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac show how the latest story broke into the news cycle.


And even more to the point, it seems Musk's attack is baseless. (Note: Link is to the Daily Mail, a blocked site.)

"EXCLUSIVE - 'I am NOT a child bride!' Hero British diver Vernon Unsworth's 40-year-old girlfriend who has been with him for seven years reacts with fury at billionaire Elon Musk's latest slur that he is a paedophile" https://dailym.ai/2PFxMJh 

Musk alleged that Mr Unsworth had travelled to and lived in Thailand for "30 to 40 years" and claimed - without evidence - that he eventually moved to Chiang Rai to find a child bride. Mr Unsworth denied the claims, according to the news site.

Chiang Rai is the province in which the Wild Boar youth football team became trapped in the flooded cave. The boys and their coach were subsequently saved after weeks of efforts by local and international rescuers.

"As for this alleged threat of a lawsuit, which magically appeared when I raised the issue (nothing was sent or raised beforehand), I fu**ing hope he sues me," Musk said in the email to BuzzFeed.

Mr Unsworth's lawyer L Lin Wood told CNBC Wednesday that Musk "will be" sued for his comments on the cave diver.

"Elon Musk's ongoing campaign of publishing vile and false accusations against Mr Unsworth is reprehensible," Wood said via email. "Musk 'hopes' to be sued and Musk deserves to be sued. He will be."

He told CNBC last week that the spelunker is preparing a case against Musk for libel damages.

Wood, an Atlanta-based attorney, has handled several high-profile libel claims, including that of Richard Jewell, the security guard who was falsely accused of bombing the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996.

In a letter to Musk on Aug. 6, Wood said he was preparing a civil complaint against the Tesla boss.

"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," Wood wrote, adding: "You did so without any basis."

A lawsuit against Musk could be ready for filing as early as next week, CNBC understands.

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  • accusation: a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • baseless: groundless; based on no good reasons or facts - ไม่มีมูลความจริง
  • basis: the important facts, ideas or events that support something; the reason why people take a particular action - รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก
  • campaign: a planned series of activities - การรณรงค์
  • civil: of a case filed a court that deals with non-criminal matters, especially complaints made by people against other people or organisations - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาลแพ่ง
  • condition: something that must be done before another thing can happen - เงื่อนไข
  • damages: money that a court awards to a person who sued another person for causing injury to them -
  • dampen: to make something less strong, large, etc. - ทำให้อ่อนกำลังลง
  • exploitation: unfair treatment of someone, or the use of a situation in a way that is wrong - การใช้หาประโยชน์อย่างไม่ถูกต้อง
  • lawsuit: a case that a court is asked to decide involving a disagreement between two people or groups - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาล
  • libel: involving the act of printing a statement about somebody that is not true and that gives people a bad opinion of them - เป็นการหมิ่นประมาท,เป็นการใส่ร้าย
  • miniature (adj): much smaller than things of the same kind - เล็กมาก, ขนาดเล็ก, จิ๋ว
  • off the record: if you tell somebody something off the record, it is not yet official and you do not want them to repeat it publicly -
  • pedo: abbreviation of pedophile (paedophile), a person who is sexually attracted to children -
  • reprehensible (adj): morally wrong and deserving criticism - น่าตำหนิ
  • sentiment: a thought, opinion or idea based on a feeling about a situation, or a way of thinking about something - กระแส, แนวความคิด, ความคิดเห็น
  • stunt: something silly or unusual to which is done to get public attention -
  • sue: to take legal action against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you - ฟ้องร้อง
  • vile (adj): morally bad; completely unacceptable; extremely unpleasant or bad - เลวทราม, ชั่วร้าย

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