Elon Musk has tweeted an apology to Vern Unsworth, a British cave diver who helped rescue the Thai soccer team and their coach last week, after he called him a “pedo”.
If you’re wondering why anyone would randomly accuse a stranger of being a pedophile, you aren’t alone.
Musk was upset that Unsworth (reasonably) called his attempt to build a miniature submarine to rescue the boys a “PR stunt” that “would never have worked”. Coming from a guy actually involved in the rescue – which, let’s remember, Musk was not, despite his many tweets about his submarine – it seems fair to categorise Musk’s actions as those of someone desperate to involve themselves in a situation they have little business being involved in.
Musk issued the apology in response to Adam Chavez, who tweeted a link to a Quora response explaining the situation. The response is incredibly detailed, and its author suggests Musk called Unsworth a pedo because the part of Thailand he lives in, Chiang Rai, is a “hotspot for sex trafficking and child prostitution”.
That… still doesn’t strike me as a good reason to call a man who participated in the rescue of the children a “pedo” on the internet. And Unsworth clearly agreed, since he said earlier this week he hadn’t yet ruled out legal action. Honestly, legal action after a billionaire calls you a pedo on Twitter makes sense.
Only time will tell if Musk has learned from this, as he’s typically pretty fast and loose with his Twitter usage. Maybe a refresher course on defamation law will help.