Elon Musk is asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit in the direction of him from a British diver he called a paedophile on Twitter.
The tech billionaire has argued that his comment was a a part of nothing better than a “schoolyard spat on social media” that readers didn’t take considerably.
Mr Musk’s motion to dismiss, filed in courtroom on Wednesday, argues that the “public knew from the outset that Musk’s insults were not intended to be statements of fact”.
The Tesla chief govt used the US spelling “pedo” when he insulted Vernon Unsworth in a tweet in July.
The diver had criticised Mr Musk on CNN when he talked about his efforts to help rescue 12 Thai boys trapped in a flooded cave have been “a PR stunt”.
Mr Musk and engineers from his SpaceX rocket agency had constructed a small submarine and shipped it to Thailand to help free the youthful footballers.
The system wasn’t used and Mr Unsworth claimed that it might not have labored to free the boys.
He added: “(Mr Musk) can stick his submarine somewhere where it hurts.”
Mr Musk hit once more nonetheless later deleted his tweets about Mr Unsworth and apologised, nonetheless the diver launched in September that he was suing the businessman for $57,000 (£43,300).
He tweeted that his phrases have been “spoken in anger” and that the submarine was constructed out of kindness in accordance to specs from the dive employees chief.
But Mr Musk went on to electronic message a BuzzFeed News reporter on 30 August and suggest he ought to look at Mr Unsworth and “stop defending child rapists”, in accordance to the lawsuit.
Mr Musk will be talked about to have written: “He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been travelling or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years.”
He added that Mr Unsworth moved to Thailand “for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time”, in accordance to the declare.
The lawsuit continues: “Mr Unsworth should not be a paedophile.
“Mr Unsworth has on no account engaged in an act of paedophilia.
“Mr Unsworth is not a child rapist.”
The declare gives that Mr Unsworth has on no account been married to a minor.
The British diver lives in Thailand collectively together with his “significant other,” a 40-year-old woman, and commenced visiting Thailand in 2011 to uncover and map caves, the lawsuit states.
Mr Musk’s motion to dismiss argues that the e-mail to BuzzFeed was supposed to be off the doc, nonetheless the knowledge outlet reported on the time that its reporters had made no such settlement – a customary observe amongst journalists sooner than publishing one thing with out attribution.
His attorneys wrote: “While many readers criticised Musk for lodging what they understood to be groundless accusations, not a single reader seemed to construe Musk’s statements literally.”
The attorneys argue in Mr Musk’s submitting: “Here, the reasonable reader would not have believed that Musk – without having ever met Unsworth, in the midst of a schoolyard spat on social media, and from 8,000 miles afar – was conveying that he was in possession of private knowledge that Unsworth was sexually attracted to children or engaged in sex acts with children.”
The attorneys add that the billionaire’s statements have been merely “imaginative attacks”, and even after they have been offensive, such insults are protected by the First Amendment.