Musk slur may cause lawsuit

Nevada welfare recipient Elon Musk has stirred up a furor, describing one of the Thai cave rescuers as a “pedo guy”—presumably meaning a pedophile.

Musk showed up in Thailand last week with a mini-sub reportedly made from spare rocket parts, then departed. A few hours later, 12 boys—stuck in a flooded cave for weeks—were rescued by divers while the world watched, and without the use of the sub. For some reason, Musk then got involved in an online debate over whether he deserved any credit for the rescue, prompting one of the divers, Vernon Unsworth, to tell CNN the sub maneuver had been a “P.R. stunt. … He had no conception of what the cave passage was like. … It wouldn’t have gone ’round corners or ’round any obstacles.”

Musk then took the bait from a Twitter user instead of dropping what seemed like a no-win flap and started tweeting attacks on Unsworth, ending one of them with, “Sorry, pedo guy, you really did ask for it.” Another Musk tweet referred to “this British expat guy who lives in Thailand (sus)”—which was taken to mean “suspicious.”

Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

That exchange provoked a round of tweets denouncing Musk: “He didn’t just call the British rescuer in Thailand a pedophile. He called him a pedophile because he couldn’t imagine another reason for a white guy to be in Thailand. Which is a false assumption. Sometimes white guys visit Thailand to show off their useless submarines.”

“Elon Musk implying that British expats who live in Thailand are all kiddie fiddlers? Erm … wow … isn’t that kind of a little bit racist?”

“Sure, Elon Musk calling a diver who helped rescue 12 boys a ‘pedo’ just because he lives in Thailand is insulting, inflammatory and borderline libelous, but let’s not forget that it is also horrifically racist.”

As word of the dispute spread, shares of Musk’s Tesla corporation fell three points.

TechCrunch noted that whipping up a rescue sub in a few days is a class act, but Musk “seems not only intent on burning all the goodwill he earned for trying to help last week’s Thai cave rescue, but rolling around in its ashes, too.”

Twitter is reviewing whether Musk’s tweets were “defamatory content,” and Unsworth is considering legal action.

Musk’s Trump-like behavior has often caused him bad publicity, as when he strikes out at his own fans for not being obsequious enough. In 2016, after Californian Stewart Alsop complained about the launch event for the Tesla Model X being poorly planned, two hours late, overcrowded, and so on, Musk canceled Alsop’s order for the car (a car which was three years overdue).

But then, those fans often foster that kind of behavior with their adulation. Musk buffs bewitched by his talk of lower carbon use tend to ignore his demands of state governments for special treatment under environmental protection laws.