Elon Musk has won his $190 million defamation case, arguing to a US jury that “pedo guy” was a common phrase in South Africa, where he grew up.
Vernon Unsworth, a British cave diver involved in last year's Thai football team rescue mission, sought damages after Elon Musk tweeted that he was a “pedo guy.”
The tweet was a response to Unsworth's accusation that Musk's involvement in the rescue was no more than a publicity stunt. Musk then doubled down on his “pedo guy” comment, labeling the rescuer a “child rapist” and suggesting that he moved to Thailand for a child bride.
The BBC reports that over the course of two days Mr Musk told the court he did not expect the “pedo” tweet to be taken literally and that at the time of the rescue Mr. Unsworth was “just some random creepy guy” who was “unrelated to the rescue.”
Mr Unsworth's lawyer described Musk as a “billionaire bully” who had “dropped a nuclear bomb” on the rescuer which affected his career and relationships.
The jury found Musk not liable for defamation. Following the decision, the Tesla CEO commented, “My faith in humanity is restored.”