The legal action came after Musk was accused of making a defamatory comment on Twitter when the Tesla boss repeatedly accused the cave diver of being a Pedophile. While Elon Musk had himself tried making his intentions known but a judge had rejected his claims. Musk sent an email to Buzzfeed which states some clarity over his rejection and legal proceedings.
“A reasonable fact-finder could easily conclude that [Elon Musk’s] statements … implied assertions of objective fact,” wrote district judge Stephen V. Wilson.
What really happened?
Last year, Elon Musk got into a minimal feud with Vernon Unsworth after the rescue of a soccer team that was trapped in a cave in Tahiland. Unsworth was part of the rescuer criticized Musk’s dubious plans to save the team with a “Kid-Sized submarine” leading to an abrupt response from Musk by calling him a “Pedo Guy” on Twitter.
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Later on, Musk doubled down his insult by making another tweet saying “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true” and then he explained his reasons for calling Unsworth a “Pedo Guy” via a long email he sent to Buzzfeed where he made it known that Unsworth moved to Thailand just so he can have “a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.” But whether Elon Musk was jut making jest of Unsworth or he meant his statements, no one know for sure.
But according to defamation law, it doesn’t apply to opinions or derogatory hyperbole but then Judge Wilson made it known that Elon Musk would have been better off if he had simply tweeted an insult rather than calling proceeding to issuing statements via email to Buzzfeed which is the reason for the legal issue in the first place.
According to Judge Wilson, he said Musk “did not call [Unsworth] a ‘pedo guy’ and leave it there,” writes Wilson. “Rather, he made follow-up statements indicating that he believed his statements to be true.” That included the emails to BuzzFeed, where Musk “purported to convey actual facts and even suggested that the BuzzFeed reporter call people in Thailand to confirm his narrative.”
While Elon Musk doesn’t necessarily have to be guilty over the case, the case still deserves to be heard and a Pre-trial conference will take place on October 7th. And of course this won’t be the first time Elon will get himself in trouble over bad tweets. He recently settled with the US SEC after he was accused of making misleading financial statements on Twitter.