Tesla chief executive Elon Musk is set to go to trial in Los Angeles on October 22 after British diver Vernon Unsworth filed a defamation lawsuit against the billionaire executive.
Musk infamously called Unsworth “pedo guy” on Twitter in the wake of the Thailand cave rescue last year. Musk’s statement came after Unsworth said Musk built his mini-submarine to help with the rescue purely as a “PR stunt.”
The Tesla CEO attempted to have the defamation lawsuit dismissed and claimed that his statement was protected from legal action. However, a federal court judge overseeing the case disagreed.
Unsworth is seeking more than $75,000 in damages from Musk and the lawsuit also seeks a court order to prohibit Musk from making similar disparaging comments in the future.
Just a couple of days after calling Unsworth “pedo guy,” Musk issued a statement on Twitter apologizing to him.
“My words were spoken in anger after Mr. Unsworth said several untruths & suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness & according to specifications from the dive team leader,” Musk wrote.
“Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone.”
Coincidentally, the news broke cover just a couple of weeks after he reached an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about what he can and can’t tweet about regarding information that is material to Tesla.