Elon Musk faces trial over 'pedo' tweet

Instagram @autoexpressmagazine

Instagram @autoexpressmagazine

Unsworth, who said in his lawsuit he shared a house in the Thailand countryside with a 40-year-old woman who owned a nail salon, was part of a team that helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave last July 10.

In a court order filed Friday, US District Judge Stephen Wilson denied Musk's attempt to dismiss the defamation case and set a trail date for October 22.

A USA judge on Friday said Elon Musk must face a defamation lawsuit by a British diver who said he was falsely branded a paedophile and child rapist by the chief executive of electric vehicle company Tesla Inc.

Elon Musk offered his help in rescuing those who were trapped by using a "kid-sized" mini-submarine created by his rocket company, SpaceX.

But after rescuers said it would not be practical for the mission, Mr Unsworth rejected the offer and said it was a "PR stunt' and Mr Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts".

He tweeted: "Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it".

But the good news story was somewhat tainted after it became overshadowed by some tweets from Elon Musk calling one of the divers "pedo guy".

In September 2018, Mr Unsworth sued Mr Musk for libel and slander and alleged that Mr Musk began a campaign to destroy his reputation "by publishing false and heinous accusations of criminality against him to the public".

He then emailed Buzzfeed News and urged them to "stop defending child rapists" and look further into Mr Unsworth's background. In a freaky and seemingly baseless string of since-deleted tweets, Musk then accused the diver of being a paedophile - a claim he would continue to double down on over the course of months.

Mr Musk contended his insult was protected from legal action, but the judge overseeing the case disagreed.

Musk's lawyers had argued that statements made on "unmoderated internet forums" like Twitter are considered opinion because "internet speech is unique", according to the court order.

Musk claimed that these statements weren't based in fact and were instead a prod at Unsworth, though when reviewed by district judge Stephen V. Wilson, his statements "implied assertions of objective fact".