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Elon Musk wins in defamation trial over his 'pedo guy' tweet

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 07 Dec 2019


A jury ruled on Friday that Elon Musk is not guilty of defaming the British diver Vernon Unsworth."My faith in humanity is restored," Musk said after the verdict was announced, BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac reported.Unsworth sued Musk in 2018, accusing him of defamation after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO called him a "pedo guy" on Twitter. (Musk later apologized to Unsworthand deleted the tweet.)Lawyers for Unsworth argued that the term "pedo guy" was widely interpreted as Musk suggesting the diver was a pedophile.Musk denied that assertion, saying the phrase is a common expression in South Africa, where he was born.Sign up for Business Insider's transportation newsletter, Shifting Gears, to get more stories like this in your inbox.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.A jury ruled on Friday that Elon Musk is not guilty of defaming Vernon Unsworth, a British cave explorer who took part in the 2018 rescue operation that freed 12 boys on a soccer team and their coach after they became trapped inside a cave in Thailand."My faith in humanity is restored," Musk said after the verdict was announced, BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac reported.Mac described Unsworth's expression as "stone faced."Unsworth sued Musk in 2018, accusing him of defamation after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO called him a "pedo guy" on Twitter. (Musk later apologized to Unsworthand deleted the tweet.)Musk had delivered his insult to Unsworthwhen the diver criticized himdays after the successful rescue operation ended. Unsworth called Musk's "minisub" that he had sent to the rescue operation a "PR stunt" and said Musk "can stick his submarine where it hurts."Lawyers for Unsworth argued that the term "pedo guy" was widely interpreted as Musk suggesting the diver was a pedophile. Musk denied that assertion, saying the phrase is a common expression in South Africa, where he was born.The case put front and center the potential consequences of public musings from an outsize figure like Musk and the effects those statements can have on a private citizen who happened to cross him.For a CEO, Musk is unusually outspoken on Twitter. Musk's account on the social-media platform is a powerful marketing tool for his companies, but his tweets have attracted regulatory scrutiny, including a 2018 lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission that forced him to step down as the chairman of Tesla's board of directors for three years and pay a $20 million fine.Are you a current or former Tesla employee' Do you have an opinion about what it's like to work there' Contact this reporter atmmatousek@businessinsider.com. You can ask for more secure methods of communication, like Signal or ProtonMail, by email or Twitter direct message.Read more:Elon Musk has spent $100 million on 7 lavish houses, including one with a ballroom and flower-arranging roomElon Musk said in court he's low on cash. He could be rightand it shows how complicated CEO compensation has become.Elon Musk said in a leaked email to Tesla employees that delivering cars and installing solar roofs are his top priorities for the end of the yearTesla refused to help the police with an investigation into stolen copper wire after Elon Musk learned about the incident because the company was scared of bad pressSEE ALSO:The Tesla Cybertruck is the first stainless-steel vehicle since the ill-fated DeLorean ' here's a closer look at bothJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: 8 weird robots NASA wants to send to space
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