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Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

By Alix Culbertson, news reporter
A British diver who helped rescue boys trapped in a Thai cave is suing Elon Musk for $57,000 (?43,300) after the Tesla chief called him a paedophile.
Vernon Unsworth claims the billionaire defamed him with "unlawful, unsupportable and reprehensible accusations", according to court documents filed in California and seen by Sky News.They also say that Mr Musk "falsely conveyed that [the] United Kingdom citizen...is a paedophile, child rapist, a child sex-trafficker, the husband of a 12-year-old child bride and a liar".Mr Unsworth was part of the team of international divers who became known worldwide after they successfully rescued all 12 youngsters and their football coach when they became trapped for two weeks by rising waters in a Thai cave complex.
Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

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Vern Unsworth speaks about tweet sent by Elon Musk in which he suggested the cave diver is 'a paedophile'
From 15 July to 30 August, 2018, Mr Musk, who lives in California, used his Twitter account and emails to the media to "publish to the world false and defamatory accusations against Mr Unsworth," the documents said.Mr Unsworth, who is a renowned diver and knew the cave system well, holds Mr Musk "legally accountable for his wrongdoing and to vindicate his reputation," they add.The row between the pair started as a result of Mr Unsworth criticising Mr Musk's decision to bring a tube to the cave system which the Space X designer said could carry the boys out of the caves.
Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

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The rescued Thai football team
Asked about the move, Mr Unsworth said it was a "PR stunt" and the tube "had absolutely no chance of working".He told reporters: "Musk can stick his submarine where it hurts."The court papers say Mr Musk then "embarked on a PR campaign to destroy Mr Unsworth's reputation by publishing false and heinous accusations of criminality against him to the public".
Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

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Elon Musk films inside Thai cave
Mr Unsworth's lawyers have included several tweets from Mr Musk about Mr Unsworth, including an apology tweet made after shareholders publicly condemned the billionaire's comments.But the lawyers say in the apology Mr Musk "significantly did not disavow or retract his accusations of paedophilia against Mr Unsworth".Mr Musk, as "one of the highest profile and wealthiest individuals in the world...knew that these accusations against Mr Unsworth would be conveyed to a worldwide audience and would result in the accusations receiving massive publicity", the documents said.
Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

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Rescue workers in front of the Tham Luang cave complex
After a letter was sent asking Mr Musk to "correct the public record", Mr Musk tweeted again asking: "You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me? He was offered free legal services. And you call yourself @yoda..."Mr Unsworth's lawyers say this "conveyed to the average reader that Mr Unsworth's failure to sue him was evidence that Mr Unsworth is, in fact, a paedophile and guilty of the most heinous crime".
Elon Musk sued by British diver who rescued Thai boys

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Boys from an under-16 soccer team and their coach wait to be rescued after they were trapped inside a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand
Mr Musk then went on to accuse Mr Unsworth of marrying "a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time" and that Chiang Rai, where Mr Unsworth lives with his Thai wife, "is renowned for child sex-trafficking".
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He also claimed Mr Unsworth was not a cave diver and that he hoped the Briton sued him.Mr Unsworth's lawyers said these accusations are false and have been proved so by comments from other rescuers in the media.
news.sky.com
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