Tesla CEO Reingites Bitter 'Pedo' Feud In E-mail to Journalist
Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has launched an astonishing new attack on rescue diver Vernon Unsworth, accusing him of being a 'child rapist' in a series of e-mails to Buzzfeed News.
Unsworth, who lives in Thailand, was instrumental in the rescue of the 12 Thai youth footballers and their coach during the biggest ever cave diving rescue operation in July this year. During that process, Unsworth dismissed an offer from Musk to build a mini-submarine as 'unworkable.' In a bizzarre series of tweets following a TV interview with Unsworth, Musk labelled Unsworth a 'pedo guy' to his 22 million followers on Twitter.
After the inevitable backlash, Musk apologised, but attempted to save face by claiming he was reacting in anger to Unsworth's 'suggestion that [he] engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub', a rather literal interpretation of Unsworth's sarcastic comment that Musk 'stick [the mini-sub] where it hurts' at the time it was offered as a solution to the cave rescue efforts.
Since the initial Tweet, the Tesla CEO has appeared increasingly unhinged on social media. He announced that he would take Tesla private, causing investors to retaliate and question the legality of the announcement as Tesla's share price wavered. He stoked the feud with Unsworth by questioning why he had not yet instigated legal proceedings if the allegations of paedophilia were false. A letter to Musk from Unsworth's lawyer, however, dated 6 August suggested that the process had already begun.
Queried over e-mail by Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac, Musk replied: 'I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f****** a*****.He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been travelling 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.'
Musk's assertions have not been verified, and Buzzfeed claims to have investigated the accusations and found them to have no foundation. They apparently spoke to Unsworth's Thai girlfriend, who responded that she was 40 years of age, and that the couple had been together for 7 years.
Continuing the e-mail, Musk wrote: 'There's only one reason people go to Pattaya Beach. It isn't where you'd go for caves, but it is where you'd go for something else. Chiang Rai is renowned for child sex-trafficking.'
As anybody who is familiar with Pattaya and the surrounding area will know, it's a popular tourist hotspot with a wide range of activities available. There is some pretty decent diving, including a few thoroughly enjoyable wrecks, and there are lots of reasons that people go there. There is, undoubtedly a seedy side to the city, which is also true of many major cities around the world.
Musk finished his tirade with the phrase: 'I f****** hope he sues me.' As yet, Mr Unsworth has made no formal statement on the Musk's accusations. However, journalists who contacted both Unsworth's mother and Thai girlfriend reported that they were referred by both women to Unsworth's lawyer, suggesting that Elon Musk may well have his hopes fulfilled.