The British diver suing Elon Musk for calling him “pedo guy” refused to apologize to the Tesla CEO in court on Thursday after telling him to “stick his submarine where it hurts.”
Lawyers for Musk demanded Vernon Unsworth apologize for “attacking” Musk in a CNN interview on July 13, 2018, when he called the billionaire’s offer of a submarine to rescue the boy’s soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave a “PR stunt.”
“My insult was to the tube and not to Mr. Musk personally,” Unsworth, who is suing Musk for unspecified damages in a federal defamation lawsuit, said in Los Angeles federal court.
“I’m not sure how I need to apologize,” he added. “It was my opinion at the time, and I stand by that opinion.”
During his testimony on Wednesday, the Tesla CEO claimed his July 2018 tweet was meant as a “flippant, off-the-cuff insult” that he fired-off in anger after Unsworth, 64, belittled him in the CNN interview.
He insisted that “no one interpreted it to mean pedophile.”
The South African-born Musk, 48, also insisted the term “pedo guy” did not literally mean pedophile and instead was an insult which meant “creepy old man” when he was growing up.
But Unsworth choked up as he told a jury on Wednesday how Musk’s “disgusting” tweet had ruined his life and isolated him during what was supposed to be the peak of his career.
“It feels very raw. I feel humiliated, ashamed, dirtied,” said Unsworth. “Effectively, from day one, I was given a life sentence without parole. It hurts to talk about it,” he told the court.
Unsworth helped rescue a dozen boys and their soccer coach from a Thailand cave last year. But the heroic feat was instantly overshadowed days later when he became embroiled in the spat with Musk.
In more than six hours to testimony across two days, Musk, who is the world’s 34th-richest person with a net worth of $26.5 billion, said Unsworth’s comments made him upset and angry.
He also revealed he wasn’t flush with cash, telling jurors his fortune was locked up in stock and his private rocket company, SpaceX.
The tech inventor’s attorney, Alex Spiro, has repeatedly labeled the British diver as an opportunist and said the insults were simply “an argument between two men.”
Jurors are expected to have the case by Friday after testimony from Unsworth’s ex-wife and closing arguments.
– with Post wires