Elon Musk has doubled down on the comments he made against the British diver who helped rescue a Thai football team from a flooded cave, querying why Vernon Unsworth had not sued him after the billionaire called him a paedophile.
The Tesla boss launched an astonishing attack on Unsworth in July after the acclaimed British diver dismissed a mini-submarine Musk’s team built for the rescue effort as a “PR stunt”.
Must made the comment during an interview with the New York Times, in which he was said to have “choked up multiple times” while discussing a turbulent year for Tesla.
Musk denied crying, and wrote on Twitter after the piece was published: “For the record, my voice cracked once during the NY Times article. That’s it. There were no tears.”
This sparked an exchange with fellow entrepreneur Drew Olanoff, who said: “Your dedication to facts and truth would have been wonderful if applied to that time you called someone a pedo.”
To which Musk replied: “You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me? He was offered free legal services.”
The 47-year-old’s hostility towards Unsworth stems from the diver’s comments he made about the billionaire’s submarine, which he said “had absolutely no chance of working” in the rescue.
In an interview with CNN, Unsworth said: “He [Musk] had no conception of what the cave passage was like. The submarine, I believe, was about 5ft 6in long, rigid, so it wouldn’t have gone round corners of any obstacles.”
The 63-year-old, who has expert local knowledge of the Tham Luang cave system, added Musk could “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
The young football players were eventually rescued individually, each accompanied by two divers and navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.
Musk sent a string of now-deleted tweets in which he said he was working on producing a video to prove his submarine could have reached the trapped football team.
In a tweet to his 22.3m followers, Musk said: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”
Unsworth later responded to Musk’s comments, telling the Guardian: “I believe he’s called me a paedophile. I think people realise what sort of guy [Musk] is.”
He said that he would consider taking legal action against Musk, saying: “It’s not finished.”