British diver REFUSES to apologize to Elon Musk for calling his plan a ‘publicity stunt’

Cave rescue hero Vernon Unsworth refused to apologize to Elon Musk for calling the billionaire’s plan to use a mini submarine to save 12 Thai boys trapped in a cave a ‘publicity stunt,’ a court heard on Thursday.

Unsworth made the comment during the rescue last year in an interview with CNN, where he also said Musk could ‘stick his submarine where it hurts,’ prompting the Tesla and SpaceX CEO to call him a ‘pedo guy’ on Twitter.

The British native, 63, denied he attacked Musk and insisted his remarks were directed at Musk’s submarine, not the entrepreneur. 

During his testimony at Musk’s defamation trial in Los Angeles, Unsworth said: ‘I’m not sure how I need to apologize. That was my opinion at the time and I stand by that.’

Cave rescue hero Vernon Unsworth refused to apologize to Elon Musk for calling the billionaire’s plan to use a mini submarine to save 12 Thai boys trapped in a cave a ‘publicity stunt,’ a court heard on Thursday

Unsworth was questioned by Musk’s attorney, Bill Price, who asked him: ‘You knew when you did the interview that if you attacked Mr Musk, it would make headlines, right?

‘I did not attack Elon Musk,’ Unsworth responded.

Price played a video in court of Unsworth’s CNN interview in which he criticized Musk’s submarine plan, saying it had ‘absolutely no chance of working’ and told the interviewer that Musk and his team of engineers were asked to leave the rescue area.

Weren’t his remarks ‘an insult to Mr. Musk?’ Price asked.

‘My insult was to the tube (mini-sub), not to Mr. Musk,’ replied Unsworth. I believed at the time that it was a PR stunt.’

Price challenged Unsworth’s PR stunt comment asking him: ‘Do you think Mr. Musk was so cold-hearted that he sent a submarine to Thailand as a PR stunt, with no regard for the lives of these children?’

‘I never said Mr. Musk was cold-hearted,’ Unsworth replied.

‘Are you willing to apologize to Mr. Musk for the record today for saying that creating and sending the submarine to Thailand was just a PR stunt?’ Price asked him.

Unsworth said he didn’t believe he needed to apologize.

In his testimony on Wednesday, an emotional Unsworth told the court of his ‘humiliation and shame’ after hearing of Musk’s ‘pedo guy’ insult. 

Unsworth is suing Musk for defamation after the Tesla CEO called him a 'pedo guy' on Twitter in response to his remarks

Unsworth is suing Musk for defamation after the Tesla CEO called him a ‘pedo guy’ on Twitter in response to his remarks

Musk, who is estimated to be worth $26 billion, claimed during his testimony that he didn't have that much cash and most of his fortune is tied up in stock

Musk took the stand for six hours on Tuesday

Musk, who is estimated to be worth $26 billion, claimed during his testimony that he didn’t have that much cash and most of his fortune is tied up in stock 

But in court Thursday, Price questioned why, in many email exchanges with several friends in the weeks and months after Musk’s tweet, he never once mentioned his ’emotional distress’ over the implication that he was being called a pedophile. 

‘I rarely talk to anyone about this in a text message,’ Unsworth responded. ‘I tend to bottle it up and deal with it myself.’

Since the dramatic rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach in July last year, Unsworth has participated in three books and two documentaries, received other offers, been asked to give presentations and been given awards, including the MBE from the Queen, he told the court on Thursday.

Price questioned whether all those offers and accolades are an indication that his wealthy client’s ‘pedo guy’ insult has not defamed Unsworth as much as he’s claiming.

‘Nobody has ever come up to you and said, ‘I think you are pedophile, right?’ asked Price.

‘Not to my face, no,’ replied Unsworth. ‘I don’t know what people are thinking though.’ 

In his testimony on Wednesday, an emotional Unsworth told the court of his 'humiliation and shame' after hearing of Musk's 'pedo guy' insult

In his testimony on Wednesday, an emotional Unsworth told the court of his ‘humiliation and shame’ after hearing of Musk’s ‘pedo guy’ insult 

Earlier, Price also insisted that Unsworth’s original assertion that Musk and his submarine team were asked to leave the cave where the boys were trapped, was untrue.’

Mr. Musk was not asked to leave the cave,’ he said. 

In previous testimony Musk, 48, conceded that his angry ‘pedo guy’ tweet was regrettable, he also said he deleted the tweet within hours if posting it and later apologized on Twitter.

Musk, who is estimated to be worth $26 billion, claimed he didn’t have that much cash and most of his fortune is tied up in stock.

During his own testimony on Wednesday, he said: ‘People think I have a lot of cash. I actually don’t.’ He earlier told the courtroom that he works ‘for free’.  

However, Musk had $50,000 at the ready to hire a private investigator to dig up dirt on Unsworth, offering a $10,000 bonus if he could find proof of ‘nefarious behavior’.

Unsworth’s lawyers have called Musk ‘thin-skinned’ and a ‘bully’.

Unsworth is seeking unspecified damages that are to be determined by a jury. 

TIMELINE OF THE THAI RESCUE AND MUSK AND UNSWORTH’S DISPUTE 

June 23 2018: The boys and their soccer coach become trapped in the caves

July 8: Musk tweets that he is using Tesla engineers to build a ‘kid size’ submarine to try to get them out

The Thai soccer team got lost in caves while exploring and became stuck for days. Musk offered to help and sent a team of Tesla engineers to build a submarine to get them out

The Thai soccer team got lost in caves while exploring and became stuck for days. Musk offered to help and sent a team of Tesla engineers to build a submarine to get them out 

July 8 – 10: The boys were rescued gradually in a complex mission involving hundreds of people 

July 13: Vernon Unsworth gives a CNN interview where he is asked about Musk’s plan. He calls it a ‘PR stunt’ and says: ‘He can stick it where it hurts’ in reference to the submarine 

July 15: Musk tweets calling him a ‘pedo guy’ 

 

July 17: Musk apologizes

August 15: Musk hires private investigator James Howard after he got in touch with him saying, in an email:  ‘Dear Elon, you may wish to dig deep and look into Mr. Unsworth’s past… no smoke without fire!’

They set about launching their ‘investigation’ but go to great lengths to keep Musk separate from it. In emails, Musk’s associate Jared Birchall carried out their dealings and Musk was referred to as ‘the principle’. He and Birchall never discussed it in writing.

August 28: Musk tweets in response to a follower who accused him of lying about Unsworth: ‘You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me yet?

August 30: BuzzFeed reporter emails Musk for a comment. He replies saying, among other things, that Unsworth married a ‘child bride’ and inferring that he is a rapist

September 4: BuzzFeed publishes the story 

September 5: Private Investigator emails Birchall, Musk’s associate, saying: ‘At no time have have I reported that the target is a child rapist.’

September 17: Unsworth files a lawsuit against Musk

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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