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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020

Elon Musk cleared of defamation over 'pedo guy' tweet

Vernon Unsworth, a veteran cave explorer, said that Musk’s tweet was “very hurtful”.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, second from right, arrives at the US District Court.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, second from right, arrives at the US District Court.
Image: Mark J Terrill

TESLA CO-FOUNDER Elon Musk has been cleared of defamation by a jury in Los Angeles over a tweet in which he labelled British caver Vernon Unsworth a “pedo guy”.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour before ruling in favour of Musk and clearing him of any liability in the high-profile case.

Unsworth had sought $190 million in damages from the tech billionaire.

The row started when Vernon Unsworth, who helped with the perilous underwater rescue of children trapped in a Thai cave, dismissed Musk’s offer of aid as a publicity stunt.

A defamation trial began in Los Angeles on Tuesday, bringing Musk and Unsworth face-to-face inside a federal court.

In his defence, Musk insisted the phrase “pedo guy” was commonly used in his native South Africa and meant “creepy old guy”, rather than being an allegation of paedophilia.

Unsworth, a veteran cave explorer who said he first travelled to Thailand in 2011, added Musk’s tweet was “very hurtful”.

“I find it disgusting. I find it very hard to even read the word, never mind talk about.”

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