Musk's "pedo" Tweet - The Controversy Continues

image credits: Ananda Prabhu Naveen Kumar



Elon Musk sued by Vernon Unsworth for libel. The lawsuit, filed in California and a seperate one to be subsequenty filed in London, seeks compensation worth $75,000 for the defamatory allegations from the tech tycoon. L Lin Wood, Mr. unsworth's lawyer, said, "Musk's influence and wealth cannot convert his lies into truth or protect him from accountability for his wrongdoing in a court of law,".


A journalist from Buzzfeed has let out an EXPLOSIVE email wherein Elon Musk claims Vernon Unsworth is a child rapist who takes 12 year old brides. Elon Musk was replying to a journalist from Buzzfeed who contacted him repeatedly asking about the earlier "pedo" tweets. Prefacing the email with "off the record", Musk goes on a expletive laden triade against the journalist, caling him at one point a "f***ing as***le", Musk makes very strong allegations against the cave rescue diver. Read the full mail below:
screenshot of email posted on twitter

Musk has still not provided any documents to support his claims, but seems sure of his version of the truth as this is not the first journalist he has asked to actually investigate Vernon and revel him for the "pedo" he is. The Telsa, SpaceX CEO, already in multiple controversies including a move to take Tesla private which was later retracted, seems to be a magnet for even more. If unproven, these are very powerful statements coming from a man with Elon Musk's reach, and Musk now has a moral obligation to explain and prove himself. However, the fact that Vernon Unsworth has not sued him yet is allegedly proof enough from the tech tycoon's viewpoint that he is in the right.

Billionaire and controversial tech tycoon has had another Twitter rant, this time doubling down on his previous much-criticised allegation of calling a British rescue driver a "pedo" - short for paedophile. Following his earlier tweet, Musk received much criticism from all corners and had to delete his tweet. He also rendered an apology after his company shares took a hit, falling up to 3% of their value. 

However, Musk seems to be now doubling down on his previous claims. Responding on Tuesday to a Twitter user who asked why he had made the "pedo" remark, Musk asked whether it was not strange that the man in question, Vern Unsworth, had not sued him despite being assured free legal services. Following up that tweet, Musk asked the user who had asked him, a journalist, whether he had investigated Mr Unsworth "at all", and if he had not, why he has not done so yet.

Does Musk know something about the man that we don't? In which case, why is he not sharing the information with the public? Or is it just another case of public adoration and mass hero-worship having gone to the head of an otherwise good man to make him believe he and his beliefs alone are right?



Thai cave rescue diver may sue Tesla CEO Elon Musk for calling him a ‘pedo’ in tweet. ~ USA Today


British diver Vern Unsworth has told reporters he is considering legal action against tech billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk after the later called him a "pedo" on Twitter. Musk was reacting to a CNN interview the caver gave where he lambasted Musk's kid-sized submarine designed by engineers at SpaceX to help the children trapped within the cave at Thailand. Vern had said the submarine "had absolutely no chance of working" and that Musk can "stick his submarine where it hurts".


Elon Musk is an unrivalled entrepreneur and tech world giant. His track record - creating a rocket company SpaceX, an electric vehicles company Tesla, a new form of transportation via hyperloop and Boring Company etc - is proof enough about the man's brilliance and knowledge of risk. Thus it would be more than safe to assume when embarking on a time-critical project like the mini-submarine - using some of the best resources at his disposal - Musk would know what he is doing.

Musk ultimately only wanted to help - taking time out of his own busy schedule to interact with the rescue team and travelling to Thailand to have a first-hand look at the cave system. As allegations of "PR stunt" rose Musk shared an email conversation he had with Richard Stanton, a retired fireman who was one of the first to reach the soccer team deep within the cave. As can be seen from transcript Musk repeatedly implies he wouldn't mind dropping the project if it was not feasible or not needed - however, Mr Stanton encourages him to continue work on the submarine and that it may be used if the "rain holds out". Musk has also said he had turned down repeated calls for help, and only decided to chip in after the unfortunate loss of life of a Navy SEAL during the rescue mission.

email correspondence shared by Elon Musk

Detractors must understand that Musk built his highly successful empire by utilising engineering brilliance to solve immense problems - and not on cheap publicity. His companies reportedly spend zero money on advertisements. Accusing such a man of diverting attention and trying to grab the spotlight is nothing but trying to grab the spotlight yourself. Though his Twitter outburst might have been over the edge, ultimately he is human too and is entitled to feel slighted if his honest efforts are met with unfounded ridicule.


Musk has 22 million followers on Twitter. Using such a wide-reaching platform to level baseless allegations is dangerous, irresponsible and nothing more than the tactic of a school bully. Musk is no stranger to courting social media controversy either. He had earlier called journalists "jackass" and called for a Yelp-like rating system for them. Musk is no stranger to outrageous PR stunts either - he had recently launched a car into space giving unparalled advertisement to both his EV company tesla and his rocket company SpaceX, and one of his upcoming SpaceX projects is called teh Big F***ing Rocket. Musk knows the value of free press, and it is not inconcievable he would try to leverage an event, on which the entire world had their eyes on, to further his own brand.

The Thai cave system where the children were trapped was a complex and narrow one - so much so that at some points divers had to take off their oxygen cylinders to squeeze through narrow openings. Thus, any assumption that Musk's 5ft 6 inch long rigid glorified metal cylinder would be useful in such an operation is patently wrong. This sentiment was echoed by the head of the joint command of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osatanakorn when he said that the submarine would not be practical for the mission. In response, Musk accused him of not being the expert on the matter.

Musk's proposed submarine being tested

For a man who has professed to having a high pain threshold for budding startups, Musk seems to have extremely thin skin when it comes to social media. As much as he may revel in his image as the real-life Tony Stark and lap up all the gushing enthusiasm of his follower-fans, Musk must realise that Silicon Valley's response of optimistic enthusiasm combined with big money and throwing tech at all of worlds problems will not work. As much as work they do is commendable, these tech giants must also learn to swallow their own ego and respect the expertise of those in fields which are not their own. When they fail to do so, as happened with Musk and his submarine fiasco, the result is, quoting Mr Vern, the world seeing what kind of a person he really is.

Athul Krishna A is an ardent fan of everything DC, everything fantasy and everything sci-fi. You can read short stories written by him at YourStoryClub. Currently pursing a B.Tech degree from College of Engineering Trivandrum. He can be reached at

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