Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 2-Elon Musk, at defamation trial, blames 'pedo guy' tweet on overwork

Reuters | Los Angeles | Updated: 05-12-2019 02:18 IST | Created: 05-12-2019 00:52 IST
UPDATE 2-Elon Musk, at defamation trial, blames 'pedo guy' tweet on overwork
Image Credit: Flickr

Elon Musk said he was overworked when he called a British diver and cave explorer a "pedo guy" in a tweet to his millions of followers, as the Tesla chief executive defended himself on Wednesday at his defamation trial. In his second day of testimony in Los Angeles federal court, Musk again expressed regret for the tweet and other comments criticizing the plaintiff Vernon Unsworth and said he had "absolutely not" been accusing him of pedophilia.

Under questioning from his lawyer Alex Spiro, Musk said it took him "minutes" to write his tweets, amid a "very extreme" 80 to 100 hours a week schedule running Tesla Inc, which makes electric cars, and the SpaceX rocket company. "I wouldn't recommend it," Musk said about his schedule.

Musk's "pedo guy" tweet is one of three tweets that Unsworth has said defamed him and harmed his reputation. He is seeking unspecified damages. Unsworth had led a successful rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand, which was completed on July 10, 2018.

Three days later, in a CNN interview, Unsworth mocked Musk's offer of a mini-submersible from SpaceX for the rescue as a public relations stunt, and said the Tesla founder could "stick his submarine where it hurts." The "pedo guy" tweet came two days later, and when a Twitter user asked whether he was really suggesting that Unsworth was a pedophile, Musk tweeted "Bet ya a signed dollar it's true."

On the witness stand on Wednesday, Musk downplayed that tweet, saying: "It's obviously a low-stakes wager." He also said his tweets were "off the cuff," having testified on Tuesday that they came after he had just watched a video of the CNN interview.

Musk said that while he was used to facing criticism of his work, Unsworth's comments had been "extremely rude and contemptuous" and "denigrated the efforts of my team." U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson has said the case hinges on whether a reasonable person would take Musk's tweets to mean that he was calling Unsworth a pedophile.

To win the defamation case, Unsworth needs to show that Musk was negligent in publishing a falsehood that clearly identified him and caused him harm. "Actual malice" by Musk does not need to be proven because the judge deemed Unsworth a private individual, not a public figure.

Although the case does not involve Tesla, Musk's Twitter habits have long been under close scrutiny, with the company's investors and regulators expressing concerns about his tweets. With 29.9 million followers, Musk's social media account is a major source of publicity for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which does not advertise.

Other witnesses for Unsworth are expected to take the stand after Musk finishes his testimony. The trial is expected to last about five days.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

South Africa's COVID-19 response: Surprising outcomes or just poor data management?

South Africa has been committed to improving its health information system and shows that a robust digital has considerable scope to improve healthcare for the entire population. But the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that significant ga...

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Videos

Latest News

Madrid heads for lockdown after Spain announces new virus restrictions

Madrid residents are set to be barred from leaving the city except on essential trips under new coronavirus restrictions announced by the Spanish government on Wednesday. The citys borders will also be closed to outsiders for non-necessary ...

U.S. embassy worker in Ukraine dies after suspected park assault

An American woman working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraines capital Kyiv died after a suspected assault in a park near the mission, authorities said, and a search was underway for the possible perpetrator. Ukrainian police said a passerby fou...

US Senate's McConnell condemns white supremacists "in the strongest possible way"

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he condemns white supremacists in the strongest possible way.McConnell had been asked about President Donald Trumps deflection of an opportunity to condemn white supremacists d...

HIGHLIGHTS-Tennis-French Open day four

Highlights of the fourth day at the French Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Wednesday all times GMT 1834 ZVEREV BATTLES PAST HERBERTSixth seed Alexander Zverev was taken to five sets by Pierre-Hugues Herbert before he b...

Give Feedback