Elon Musk did not defame a British diver who helped in last year’s Thai cave rescue by calling him a “pedo guy” in a tweet, a US jury has found.
Vernon Unsworth was seeking $190m (£145m) in damages from the Tesla founder, over the tweet sent last year.
A public row broke out between the two over the rescue of 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave in June 2018.
Billionaire Mr Musk told the court this week the phrase “pedo guy” was common in South Africa, where he grew up.
Mr Unsworth, an experienced 64-year-old cave explorer, splits his time between the UK and Thailand. During the rescue, which captured the world’s attention, he helped recruit expert cave divers who were instrumental in freeing the boys safely.
Mr Musk sent Tesla engineers and a small submarine to help with the Thai rescue effort, but the vessel was never used.
Instead, he and Mr Unsworth got into a public war of words after the diver branded the offer of help a “PR stunt”.
During an interview with CNN, he suggested the billionaire “stick his submarine where it hurts”.
Mr Musk, who has 22 million followers, responded with a series of tweets about Mr Unsworth – including the one calling him “pedo guy”. It was later deleted.