The British caver baselessly called a “child rapist” by Elon Musk is reportedly preparing to sue the tech billionaire in three different countries.
Vernon Unsworth, who helped coordinate the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, has been subjected to two unsubstantiated attacks by Musk after Unsworth ridiculed a mini-submarine Musk commissioned for the rescue effort.
Mark Stephens, a London lawyer at the firm Howard Kennedy confirmed to HuffPost UK he was representing Unsworth and working with the American firm L Linwood.
The Times reports that Unsworth is also considering using the courts in Thailand, which could lead to Musk receiving a jail sentence in the country, where libel can be a criminal offence.
In July Musk lashed out at Unsworth, branding him a “pedo”, which he followed up with an apology.
This week Buzzfeed published two new emails from Musk in which he groundlessly called the British expat a “single white guy from England who’s been travelling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years,” alleging he had moved to Chiang Rai, “a city renowned for child sex-trafficking” in order to obtain a “child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
In response, Unsworth’s lawyer told the Guardian in an email that his client was now proceeding with legal action. He said: “Elon Musk’s campaign of publishing vile and false accusations against Mr Unsworth is inexcusable. Musk hopes to be sued and he deserves to be sued. He will be.”
Musk had earlier emailed Buzzfeed to say: “I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole… As for this alleged threat of a lawsuit, which magically appeared when I raised the issue (nothing was sent or raised beforehand), I fucking hope he sues me.”
Buzzfeed said: “It is unclear why Musk believes the allegations against Unsworth or what evidence he has to support them. Musk did not provide proof of his claims to Buzzfeed News, and Buzzfeed News could not verify any of the claims after reporting on Unsworth’s background.”
Unsworth told The Times: “I’ve been told today to be very careful because this guy may do anything to make my life difficult.”
HuffPost UK has contacted Tesla and Musk for comment on this matter.