Elon Musk, multi-billionaire CEO and freelance Defender of the Children, has been in an ongoing war of words with Vern Unsworth, a British diver who helped rescue a Thai football team from a flooded cave earlier this year. In the latest development, he added more detail to his accusations of “child rape” and pedophilia in a series of profanity-laden emails to Buzzfeed News.
This new installment of Someone Get Elon Off the Internet is a direct follow-up to Musk’s tweets from last week, in which he re-upped his accusations of pedophilia against Unsworth, and questioned why Unsworth wasn’t suing him. After that incident, Buzzfeed News emailed Musk to get more details about Unsworth’s legal threat, and sure enough, Musk replied.
In a series of emails, Musk called Unsworth a “child rapist,” accused him of having a child bride, and implied he had nothing to do with the rescue:
“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,” Musk wrote in the first message. “He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time.”
“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,” he added.
“He may claim to know how to cave dive, but he wasn’t on the cave dive rescue team and most of the actual dive team refused to hang out with him,” Musk wrote in one email. In another email in which Musk wrote “on background” — BuzzFeed News again did not agree to these terms — the Tesla CEO said, “Never saw Unsworth at any point. Was told he was banned from the site.”
Buzzfeed News spoke to Unsworth’s longtime girlfriend, a lead diver from the rescue operation, and government officials who backed up Unsworth and could provide no evidence to substantiate Musk’s claims.
“Today the rich and powerful seem all too ready to tweet falsities in the hope and expectation that their wealth and position will protect them,” Unsworth’s lawyer told Buzzfeed News. “Pedophilia is too serious an issue to leave unchallenged. If Mr. Musk believes his wealth affords him protection from his lies and Twibels, he is sadly mistaken.”