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Elon Musk, who once said, “I fucking hope he sues me,” gets fucking sued

Vernon Unsworth filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against Musk, who had previously alleged that Unsworth was a "pedo" and “child rapist."

by Rex Santus
Sep 17 2018, 6:00pm

Billionaire and stoner meme Elon Musk once said of a rescue diver who helped save 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand in June: “I fucking hope he sues me.”

Well, it looks like Musk is getting his wish.

Vernon Unsworth filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against Musk, who had previously alleged that Unsworth was a pedophile and “child rapist” after the diver criticized Musk’s attempts to help the cave rescue effort. Unsworth is a British citizen and filed the suit in London, which has libel laws that more strongly favor the person suing than those in the U.S.

The conflict between the two began when Unsworth, on CNN, criticized Musk for showing up to the mission to save 12 young soccer players who were trapped in a flooded Thai cave system. Unsworth said that Musk's idea to use a mini-submarine had “no chance of working” and that Musk should “stick his submarine where it hurts.” Unsworth also noted that eight of the 12 boys had already been rescued by the time Musk showed up.

Musk responded by accusing Unsworth of being a “pedo,” a claim for which he later apologized. That didn’t stop him from later revisiting those claims after Unsworth threatened legal retribution over Musk’s accusations.

“You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me?” Musk tweeted in late August. “He was offered free legal services.”

Additionally, Musk sent a series of emails to BuzzFeed News in which he accused Unsworth of being a “child rapist” who took a child bride.

“Elon Musk falsely accused Vern Unsworth of being guilty of heinous crimes,” Unsworth’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “Musk’s influence and wealth cannot convert his lies into truth or protect him from accountability for his wrongdoing in a court of law.”

Unsworth is seeking financial retribution over “worldwide damage” to his reputation. Libel damages in the U.K. are capped at around £300,000 ($395,000).

Musk, the mogul who owns Tesla and SpaceX, is facing a host of other legal problems, including an SEC investigation and shareholder lawsuits over a tweet about taking Tesla private that may have simply been a marijuana joke.

VICE News’ has reached out to SpaceX and Tesla for comment. Musk did not immediately reply to a tweet requesting comment.

Cover image: Tesla CEO and founder of the Boring Company Elon Musk speaks at a news conference Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)