The billionaire co-founder of Tesla is being sued for defamation by Vernon Unsworth and the pair came face-to-face in a Los Angeles courtroom on Tuesday.
Musk repeated the defence he first used in court papers lodged in September, insisting the phrase “pedo guy” was commonly used in his native South Africa and meant “creepy old guy”, rather than being an allegation of paedophilia.
An internet search or a survey of people on the street would prove his point, Musk added.
He also cited Unsworth’s response to his offer of help in the cave rescue, where he said “he can stick his submarine where it hurts”.
Musk said this too was clearly an insult, rather than a threat to “physically sodomise me with a submarine”.
Lin Wood, who is representing Unsworth, asked why Musk did not offer this defence earlier, PA Medias reports.
“I think it would have been worse. It’s like if I called someone a mothereffer,” Musk said, adding it would seem “sarcastic” to say “I did not mean they committed incest”.
Musk was then asked about his statement, “I f***ing hope he sues me”.
To laughter inside the courtroom, Musk replied: “Be careful what you wish for.”
The row started when Unsworth, who helped with the perilous underwater mission, dismissed Musk’s offer of aid as a publicity stunt.
Under cross examination from his solicitor, Alex Spiro, Musk was asked why he got involved in the rescue. Musk said it first appeared authorities had the situation under control, before news of an incoming monsoon made him fearful for the trapped children’s safety.
He said: “When one of the Thai navy seals died that seemed, ‘Wow, this is pretty hardcore’.”
Speaking about the monsoon, Musk explained his fears, adding: “If it arrives before the boys are out they would drown for sure.”
The court was then shown a clip of Unsworth’s interview with CNN, in which he dismissed the tech billionaire’s offer of help as a publicity stunt.
Asked by Spiro if this was a lie from Unsworth, Musk replied: “Yes.”
The case continues.