Tech billionaire Elon Musk is accusing reporters of defending a British diver who is suing the Tesla CEO for calling him a pedophile shortly after the man helped rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.
Musk called Vernon Unsworth, a British caver who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” on social media in July after the two got into a tit-for-tat about the nature of the cave rescue. His tweet came shortly after Unsworth suggested in a CNN interview that the Tesla CEO should “stick his submarine where it hurts.” Musk is claiming reporters are defending “child rapists” for supposedly going after him instead of fleshing out whether Unsworth is a pedophile.
“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 told Buzzfeed in an Aug. 29 email he thought was off the record. The outlet was hoping to get a statement about the nature of his renewed battle with the British diver who’s been living in Thailand for several years.
He added: “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.”
Buzzfeed reached out to Musk repeatedly for statements about the story, which crawled back into the news after the entrepreneur asked one of his Twitter followers in an Aug. 29 post why Unsworth “hasn’t sued me.” He has not provided any evidence for his claims, except to suggest that there is only one reason why an elderly white man would relocate to Thailand: to find a child bride.
Thailand is often called a haven for sexual predators. UNICEF estimates that between 60,000 and 200,000 Thai children have been involved in prostitution, though the exact numbers are difficult to track. The unusual back-and-forth came shortly after Unsworth accused Musk of trying to use the underwater cave rescue as a type of public relations coup to help his ailing business.
Musk constructed a small submarine from spare SpaceX Falcon parts to help save a 12-member soccer team stuck in the flooded Tham Luang cave. Rescuers finished yanking members from the cave Tuesday without help from the submersible. Thailand ultimately used Navy SEALs to save the soccer team. (RELATED: Elon Musk Accuses British Diver And Critic Of Mini-Sub Idea Of Being A Pedophile)
But Thai Navy officials downplayed the sub’s usefulness.
“I assure you that the equipment he brought to help us is not practical for our mission,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue mission, told reporters in July during the rescue. “Even though the equipment has state of the art technology, it does not fit our mission in the cave.”
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