1. Tech

Jury sides with Elon Musk in “pedo guy” defamation case

Elon Musk leaves a Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday December 3, 2019.
Enlarge / Elon Musk leaves a Los Angeles federal courtroom on Tuesday December 3, 2019.

Apu Gomes/Getty Images

A Los Angeles federal jury has discovered Elon Musk not responsible for defamation in a lawsuit introduced by British caver Vernon Unsworth. Musk dubbed Unsworth a “pedo guy” in a tweet final 12 months, however argued in courtroom that he meant this as a generic insult—not as an accusation that Unsworth was a pedophile.

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Musk reportedly said on his method out of courtroom.

Musk and Unsworth have been buying and selling insults since final July, when Unsworth mocked a miniature submarine SpaceX engineers created to assist rescue a dozen boys trapped in a cave in Thailand (it did not arrive in time to be helpful). In an interview with CNN, Unsworth mentioned that Musk ought to “stick his submarine where it hurts.”

Musk responded with a tweet labeling Unsworth a “pedo guy” and vowing to show that the submarine would have been in a position to squeeze by the narrowest passages in the cave.

A month later, Musk continued to needle Unsworth. “You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me?” he tweeted in August 2018.

Then Unsworth did sue him. The trial began on Tuesday with testimony from Musk.

Unsworth’s feedback had been “an unprovoked attack on what was a good-natured attempt to help the kids,” Musk informed the courtroom. “It was wrong and insulting, and so I insulted him back.”

“I knew he didn’t literally mean to sodomize me with a submarine, just as I didn’t literally mean he was a pedophile,” Musk mentioned.

Unsworth’s legal professionals argued that many individuals took Musk’s phrases actually, inflicting Unsworth “shame, mortification, worry, and distress.”

But the jury discovered Musk’s arguments extra convincing. Or maybe they merely did not view the feud as severe sufficient to warrant money damages.

“It was very clear,” one juror said, in line with Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac. “I don’t want to have anything to do with this,” another added.

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