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Elon Musk pressured officials in Thailand to say nice things about him during cave rescue

Date published: 2019-10-09
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.

Of all the controversies stirred up by Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year, none was more embarrassing than when he called expert spelunker and diver Vernon Unsworth a "pedo guy" and "child rapist," after Unsworth criticized him for getting involved in a massive effort to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.
Musk now faces a defamation lawsuit in the U.S. from Unsworth, who, in a lengthy filing released late Monday, illustrates just how far the CEO is willing to go when he digs in on an issue, even something so far afield from his businesses, Tesla, SpaceX, the Boring Company and Neuralink.
The dispute began in July 2018, after Musk said that his team was developing a mini-submarine a pod that could assist in carrying the kids and their coach to safety. Unsworth said in a TV interview at the time that it wouldn't help, which led to Musk's multiple online rants.
What Unsworth now reveals, through deposition transcripts and emails that his lawyers obtained, is that Musk and his affiliates paid private investigators, including one who tuned out to be a convicted felon, to try and dig up dirt on the cave rescuer. Additionally, Musk directed his team to pressure foreign officials in Thailand to say nice things about him and his mini-sub, even as they were grappling with what would prove to be a deadly rescue mission.
Last month, Musk asked the court to decide that Unsworth had no viable reason for the defamation case, in part, because he claims he was using slang and didn't really mean Unsworth was a pedophile. Unsworth's legal team, led by L. Lin Wood, says the case should proceed because, among other reasons, Musk made several contradictory and false statements to defend himself under oath.
"Musk's motion is based principally on the antithetical bases that, on the one hand, he was not calling Unsworth a pedophile, while on the other hand, he did not harbor serious doubts as to whether Unsworth was actually a pedophile," Unsworth's attor ...

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— NUS Trivia | tech news (@NusTrivia) October 9, 2019