Tech billionaire Elon Musk on Tuesday again repeated his baseless claim that British diver Vernon Unsworth is a child abuser.
This is the fourth time Musk has taken aim at the diver, who was involved in the dramatic rescue of a young football team from a Thai cave, but it is just one of the erratic moves the embattled CEO has demonstrated in recent months.
Timeline of the 'pedo guy' saga:
- In July 2018, Musk and his team built and delivered a "kid-sized submarine" to Tham Luang cave in an attempt to help rescue twelve junior footballers. The device was not used.
- On July 15, cave diver Unsworth, who played a major role in the rescue, ridiculed Musk's submarine, calling it a "PR stunt" and saying it would never have been helpful. He said Musk was asked to leave the cave, and implied Musk should stick the five foot long, 12 inch wide metal tube up his anus.
- Soon after, Musk posted on Twitter calling him a "pedo guy" saying it was "sus" [suspect] that he lived in Thailand. After criticism he bet another Twitter user "a signed dollar" his accusations were true.
- On July 18, facing major investor backlash, Musk issued an apology on Twitter, writing: "Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub."
- On August 28 however, Musk repeated insinuations the diver had something to hide, posting on Twitter it was "strange" that Unsworth hadn't yet sued him. A day later, Buzzfeed reported that the diver had engaged the services of a lawyer and was preparing to sue Musk.
After sending Musk questions on the legal action, Buzzfeed have published emails sent in response in which he intensifies his attack on Unsworth.
"I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what's actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole,” Musk wrote to the Buzzfeed reporter. "He's an old, single white guy from England who's been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time. There's only one reason people go to Pattaya Beach. It isn't where you'd go for caves, but it is where you'd go for something else."
Unsworth's lawyer L. Lin Wood told Buzzfeed that Musk's claims were unfounded. "Elon Musk can tweet his vindictive and vicious lie about Mr. Unsworth a hundred times and it will still be a lie," Wood said. "After deleting the initial accusation and tweeting an apology, Mr Musk has continued to republish his false and unsupportable accusation. His conduct demonstrates that his recklessness is intentional and designed to harm Mr. Unsworth."
Erratic behavior: Musk's increasingly erratic behavior has cost shareholders. Aside from the "pedo guy" saga, he has become the subject of a stock price manipulation investigation after suggesting he was going to take the company private and falsely claiming he already secured funding to do so.
Production hell: In an hour-long interview with the New York Times he blamed an intense work-weeks, high stress, and overuse of Ambien for his public outbursts. He has been in "production hell" trying to bring production of the mass-market Tesla 3 to high enough levels and has reportedly been working 120+ hour weeks.
Share price tumbles: Tesla shares have fallen 24 percent since the fateful "funding secured" tweet early last month. They also took a large hit after news of Mercedes' plans to enter the high-end electric car market, and after a damning report by Goldman Sachs. Earlier this year, ratings agency Moody's downgraded Tesla's credit rating into non-investment grade or "junk" territory.