British cave diver felt 'dirtied' by Elon Musk's 'pedo guy' tweet

5 December 2019, 04:59

Elon Musk arrives in court
Elon Musk arrives in court. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The British cave diver branded "sus" and "pedo guy" by tech billionaire Elon Musk was left feeling "humiliated, ashamed, dirtied," a court has heard.

Musk took the stand in a court in Los Angeles on Tuesday defending himself against claims of defamation following a spat which occurred on social media and in the press.

Vernon Unsworth is suing the co-founder of Tesla for defamation after the billionaire tweeted that he was a "pedo" following the 2018 Thai cave rescue.

On Tuesday Mr Musk told the court his comments had been misrepresented, he said: "Calling someone a 'pedo guy' just means creepy."

The row started after Mr Unsworth, who helped with the perilous underwater mission, dismissed Mr Musk's offer of aid as a publicity stunt.

Mr Musk later referred to him as a "child rapist" in an email to a reporter.

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

Vernon Unsworth's voice cracked as he gave evidence in his defamation case against Mr Musk.

Mr Unsworth, who divides his time between London and Thailand, gave evidence at a Los Angeles court on Wednesday and appeared on the verge of tears while describing the impact of Mr Musk's tweets.

Asked how he felt after seeing Mr Musk's tweeted, he replied: "It feels very raw. I feel humiliated. Ashamed. Dirtied.

"From day one I was given a life sentence without parole. And at times I feel very vulnerable, it hurts to even talk about it.

"I feel very vulnerable. Especially when I'm in the UK. I feel sometimes very isolated. I have tried to deal with it on my own but I bottled it up."

Mr Unsworth, a veteran cave explorer who said he first travelled to Thailand in 2011, added Mr Musk's tweet was "very hurtful".

"I find it disgusting," he said. "I find it very hard to even read the word, never mind talk about."

Mr Unsworth was then asked about a follow-up tweet from Musk, in which he said words to the effect of "Don't you think it's strange he hasn't sued me?"

Mr Unsworth said he was "obviously" aware of the post, and asked what it meant, replied: "If I did not (sue) it must be true. Which it is not."

The British diver said his name is "tagged with being a paedophile".

Discussing the impact of the tweets, he said: "I have probably lost a bit of self-confidence. I have good days and bad days."

"I still feel dirtied," he added.

The trial continues.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Exclusive
Mark Harper has admitted there is a 'hard fight ahead' for the Conservatives to win the election

Minister admits 'hard fight ahead' as poll suggests 'Tory extinction' - but says no deal to be done with Farage

William and Charles have shared Father's Day messages

Prince William sends touching Father's Day message to Charles with new photo, as King also shares childhood video

Labour and the Conservatives will face off in the July 4 election

Labour landslide could see Tories winning just 72 seats, poll finds, as Rishi Sunak's party faces 'electoral extinction'

Live
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

General Election LIVE: Poll suggests Tory wipe-out on July 4, as Sunak insists 'only election itself matters'

Exclusive
Pooja Kanda with Ronan

Mother of murdered son urges online shops to stop selling knives voluntarily if laws won't ban them

Israel has paused fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Israel announces 'tactical pause' in fighting to allow more aid into southern Gaza

Rishi Sunak said his faith guides him

Rishi Sunak says 'Hindu faith and duty' guide him as PM, and insists he is patriotic despite Nigel Farage's attacks

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved in 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins is bankrupt, homeless and has "lost absolutely everything", according to his lawyer.

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has 'lost absolutely everything' as star faces selling medals following bankruptcy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer promises no capital gains tax on sales of homes as he dismisses tax hike claims

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Fury grows as shock footage shows police ramming escaped cow with squad car

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza - as Palestinian death toll reaches '37,000'

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack since January