Elon Musk gets thumbs up from jury for use of 'pedo guy' in cave diver defamation lawsuit

CEO's tweeted taunt totally fine, twelve jurors decide


Billionaire Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth, a Los Angeles jury concluded on Friday.

The trial, which began on Tuesday, followed from Unsworth's claim that Musk had defamed him by calling him a "pedo guy" on Twitter last year – a term many took to mean pedophile but Musk insisted meant something entirely different.

Unsworth's attorney Lin Wood had asked for $190m to compensate for damage to his client's reputation. It took the jury less than an hour to dismiss the claim.

The spat arose after Unsworth brushed off Musk's offer of a minisubmarine – to help rescue members of a junior soccer team who were trapped in a cave in Thailand between June 23 and July 10, 2018 – as "a PR stunt" and in a TV interview told Musk to "stick his submarine where it hurts."

Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, apologized and deleted his retaliatory tweet, but defended the jibe as a common insult in his native country South Africa, saying in a court filing that it means "a creep old man."

James Bond submarine Lotus Esprit car

Billionaire vows to turn 007's Lotus Esprit into actual submarine car

READ MORE

However, in emails to news site BuzzFeed, he referred to Unsworth as "a child rapist" and said he hoped that he'd be sued by the cave diver.

Musk got his wish and may even have made "pedo guy" safe for public discourse and headline writers.

This is not the first time Musk's tweeting has resulted in legal action. Last year, he agreed to pay $40m to settle securities fraud charges with the US Security and Exchange Commission based on tweets that he'd made about taking Tesla private again.

Departing court, Musk told reporters, "My faith in humanity is restored." ®


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022