British Cave Expert Loses Elon Musk Defamation Case Over ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

Vernon Unsworth sued the Tesla co-founder after comments made during a Twitter spat.
L. Lin Wood, attorney for plaintiff, British cave expert Vernon Unsworth, speaks to reporters before the trial against Tesla CEO Elon Musk at U.S. District Court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. Musk is going on trial for his troublesome tweets in a case pitting the billionaire against a British diver he allegedly dubbed a pedophile. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
L. Lin Wood, attorney for plaintiff, British cave expert Vernon Unsworth, speaks to reporters before the trial against Tesla CEO Elon Musk at U.S. District Court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Los Angeles. Musk is going on trial for his troublesome tweets in a case pitting the billionaire against a British diver he allegedly dubbed a pedophile. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Elon Musk has been found not liable in a defamation case involving a British cave explorer.

Vernon Unsworth sued the Tesla co-founder after he called him “pedo guy” and “sus” (suspicious) on Twitter in a spat following the July 2018 Thai cave rescue.

A federal court in California heard Unsworth was left feeling “humiliated, ashamed, dirtied,” by the tweet from the billionaire.

Lawyers on behalf of Musk argued it was no more than a playground insult and did not represent an allegation of paedophilia.

A jury agreed with Musk.

This comes after Lin Wood, Unsworth’s lawyer, told the jury the impact being called “pedo guy” had on his client during his closing argument earlier on Friday.

“He (Elon Musk) dropped a nuclear bomb on Vernon Unsworth,” Wood said, adding its “fallout” would affect him for the rest of his life.

His relationships, his friendships and his jobs would all be coloured by Musk’s tweet, Wood said.

Wood, at times standing within touching distance of Musk, described the billionaire as a “liar” who was attempting to deceive the jury.