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Elon Musk could face jail in Thailand over his 'pedo' cave diver comments

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Mike Rampton
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Elon Musk is, obviously, being sued by the British diver who he dubbed 'a pedo'

It’s international lawsuit time!

The ongoing saga of Elon Musk, a British diver, the trapped Thai football team, unnecessary insults and a refusal to backtrack continues. 

We’ve been following the story closely – something about the combination of absurd wealth, childish sniping, futuristic submarine offers and bloody-minded stubbornness is just incredibly compelling. The latest stage in the tale is one we all saw coming – diver Vernon Unsworth is preparing to sue the Tesla billionaire.

The story so far, in précis, is that Musk called Unsworth a ‘pedo guy’ during Unsworth’s efforts to help the Thai football team who were trapped in an underground cave – Musk had offered to help with a submarine but ultimately was not called upon to do so – then apologised for it, then un-apologised, doubling down on his claims, saying Unsworth was a ‘child rapist’ with a ‘child bride who was about 12 years old’.

Defamation papers are to be filed in Thailand, the US and the UK. In Thailand, the offence could actually carry a jail sentence. 

Elon Musk Grimes

Elon Musk and Grimes

Unsworth is 63, his girlfriend Woranan Ratrawiphukkun is 43, and they have been together for seven years. 

“The news about him being married to a 12-year-old child is laughable,” Ratrawiphukkun told the Times. “As of now, everything will proceed according to the law. Vern is a kind person. He rarely has an argument with anyone, and everybody loves Vern. If he wasn’t a good man, we wouldn’t still be together.”

Musk might come to regret not only calling Unsworth what he called him and then doubling down on it – he might come to regret suggesting the litigation in the first place. Last week, Musk wrote on Twitter, “Don’t you think it’s strange [Unsworth] hasn’t sued me?”. 

Musk has had quite a summer. His relationship with Grimes has been tumultuous (and may or may not still be going), he was subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission following a tweet, and Azealia Banks accused him of various things from phone-hacking to threatening blackmail. 

Even if everything in the potential three defamation trials he is facing goes hideously for Musk, it is extremely unlikely that he’ll end up in a Thai prison. He is extraordinarily wealthy – his net worth is currently estimated at over $19bn – and as such would be likely to settle out of court if things really didn’t go his way. 

Still, you shouldn’t go calling people names, eh?

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Mike Rampton

Mike Rampton will be a ghost one day. A really big one.

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