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Fri Dec 6, 2019, 11:31 PM

Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer, jury finds

Source: The Guardian

Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a Los Angeles jury found Friday.
[snip]
Mark Stephens, Unsworth’s solicitor in the UK, said: “It is a pity that a bullying billionaire has been able to cast such a long shadow, and I just hope that nobody else has to go … toe to toe with Mr Musk.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/dec/06/elon-musk-vernon-unsworth-trial-verdict



Boooo... No way was this the right decision. They pulled some slippery lawyering to spoof the jury, IMO.

23 replies, 1494 views

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Reply Elon Musk did not defame British cave explorer, jury finds (Original post)
mysteryowl Dec 6 OP
SunSeeker Dec 6 #1
TeamPooka Dec 7 #2
oldsoftie Dec 7 #16
tblue37 Dec 7 #3
Sapient Donkey Dec 7 #8
LiberalLovinLug Dec 8 #22
Sapient Donkey Dec 7 #4
marble falls Dec 7 #5
Sapient Donkey Dec 7 #6
marble falls Dec 7 #7
truthisfreedom Dec 7 #12
marble falls Dec 7 #15
Sapient Donkey Dec 7 #18
BannonsLiver Dec 7 #13
Sapient Donkey Dec 7 #19
oldsoftie Dec 7 #17
LisaM Dec 7 #9
OneCrazyDiamond Dec 7 #10
muriel_volestrangler Dec 7 #11
sl8 Dec 7 #14
muriel_volestrangler Dec 7 #20
LisaL Dec 7 #21
FiveGoodMen Dec 12 #23

Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Fri Dec 6, 2019, 11:58 PM

1. Wow. Well, juries are notorious for letting celebrities off the hook.

I guess Elon Musk qualifies.

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:22 AM

2. So we can call Musk a "pedo guy" now too, right?

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 10:13 AM

16. I think thats a good point

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:29 AM

3. He certainly DID defame him! nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:53 AM

8. I think Elon also defamed himself during this entire thing

I know my opinion of him dropped significantly. Mostly the digging deeper after the initial comment. Such as hiring a private investigator to look into the guy. Like wtf? Why? All because he let himself slip up and say some awful petty things about some guy who was trying to save some kids, and he had to vindicate himself somehow? That's just weird.

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Response to Sapient Donkey (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:14 PM

22. I think Musk did pay a big price. More than any monetary one.

A monetary "fine" for his faux pas, when sued after, would be not pleasant, but I'm sure he would absorb it no problem and move on.

But he has already damaged his brand so to speak. He came off as childish. Someone that wanted to play with his new toy, his little sub, and envisioned himself being lauded as a world wide hero. And promote his brand. Suddenly this nobody butts in front of him to steal the spotlight. And he had a tantrum. He did not come out well. Nor should he have.

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:42 AM

4. Had they just consulted urban dictionary then this wouldn't have even went to trial

Last edited Sat Dec 7, 2019, 11:22 AM - Edit history (1)

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pedo%20guy


**Edit** I should make it clear that I don't actually think this proves Elon didn't defame the diver. That entry is a joke entry made by someone pretending to be Elon Musk trying to give himself cover with a ridiculous urban dictionary entry. I thought it was amusing when I saw it awhile ago. Mostly because I can't say for sure that it isn't actually Elon Musk being a troll. It's probably not, but it's not like it would be shocking if it turned out to be given the fact he is a bit of a man-child despite his successes. My actual views of Elon and this are in a post somewhere above this one.

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Response to Sapient Donkey (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:45 AM

5. Nice cite. Changed my opinion drastically. But can we still punish Elon anyways?

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Response to marble falls (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:46 AM

6. I believe he'll be going to mars soon anyway.

Might not have to deal with him much longer.

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Response to Sapient Donkey (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 12:50 AM

7. Is there a fund we can contribute to? I hope his Tesla falls on his space hut ...

Sadly I got to admit landing Space-X standing up was pretty freaking cool. Don't tell anyone I said that.

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Response to marble falls (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 04:06 AM

12. Look carefully at that Urban Dictionary definition... it was submitted by ElonM in 2018.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 09:18 AM

15. I'm not the one to defend Elon, but is he citing the word or minting it? ...

It would have been interesting to understand more about the reasoning of British courts. Either way, Elon is no compelling character for me.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 11:17 AM

18. Heh, yes. I took the entry to be a joke

As in, someone made that jokingly pretending to be Elon Musk trying to give himself cover by making a ridiculous entry on ubran dictionary.

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Response to Sapient Donkey (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 07:47 AM

13. Except he referred to him as a "child rapist" in another tweet

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Response to BannonsLiver (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 11:28 AM

19. I don't agree with the ruling

Last edited Sun Dec 8, 2019, 01:58 PM - Edit history (1)

At least I don't think I do. There may be some free speech aspects I am not considering, but my initial thoughts are that the ruling doesn't seem right. Either way, my opinion of Musk dropped a lot due this incident. Him calling the guy a child rapist and also hiring PI to look into the guy is not only wrong, but it's just really weird. The urban dictionary definition is supposed to be a joke of sorts.

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Response to Sapient Donkey (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 10:17 AM

17. But he also called him a "child rapist" in an email. Doesnt THAT quailfy?

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 02:42 AM

9. Unbelievable.

What is it about our current climate that gives billionaires carte blanche to behave in this fashion?

I hope they can afford to appeal.

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 03:36 AM

10. Boo. n/t

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 04:00 AM

11. Musk 'called Unsworth a "child rapist" in an email to a BuzzFeed News reporter'

"I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you f***ing asshole," he said in the email to BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac, who posted the message in full on Twitter. "He’s an old, single white guy from England who’s been travelling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years, mostly Pattaya Beach, until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time."

He signed off with a message about the lingering threat of the lawsuit. "As for this alleged threat of a lawsuit, which magically appeared when I raised the issue (nothing was sent or raised beforehand), I f***ing hope he sues me."

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/elon-musk-thai-cave-rescue-pedo-guy-attack-vern-unsworth-latest-email-a8523346.html


That also shows the claim that it was just a random insult is bullshit (as well as the "bet you he is" follow-up remark to the tweet).

On BBC radio, Unsworth's lawyer said 2 jurors claimed their reason for letting Musk off was that Unsworth wasn't specifically named in the tweet, so most people wouldn't have known it was about him. Which is also bullshit.

Musk claimed the British just looked on it as an insult. Which is also bullshit - from the Guardian's reporting at the time:

Elon Musk calls British diver in Thai cave rescue 'pedo' in baseless attack

Elon Musk came under fire on Sunday after launching an extraordinary attack on a British diver who helped rescue the boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand, baselessly calling him a “pedo” on Twitter and then doubling down.
...
The accusation, presented without evidence or context, was directed at Vern Unsworth, a British cave explorer who recently said Musk’s attempt to help the rescue effort was a “PR stunt”. No evidence has emerged to substantiate Musk’s claim of pedophilia.
...
On Sunday, when a Twitter user pointed out that Musk was “calling the guy who found the children a pedo”, the billionaire responded: “Bet ya a signed dollar it’s true.”

Intense criticism followed. Some Twitter users pointed out how “dangerous” and irresponsible it was to make such a serious allegation and to broadcast a potentially libelous insult to his 22 million followers.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/15/elon-musk-british-diver-thai-cave-rescue-pedo-twitter

Clearly, the British media took the accusation very seriously, and were at pains to point out it was baseless.

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 08:10 AM

14. Ryan Mac's tweets regarding juror remarks:

Ryan Mac is a senior tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

https://mobile.twitter.com/RMac18/status/1203105107778293761



@RMac18
A few mins ago I spoke with a juror on the Musk defamation case who talked about the jury's rationale. I'll try to explain what he said in a thread.

@RMac18
The juror was Carl Shusterman, an LA-based attorney who during jury selection was notable for saying he owned 2 Teslas and had both "negative & positive thoughts" about Musk. He assured court that he would remain unbiased in his decision making and nothing suggested otherwise.

@RMac18
Shusterman told me that the judge gave them clear instructions on how to determine defamation and that it had to clear five points. The main sticking point was that the jury could not determine "acquaintance."

@RMac18
That means: Can a reasonable person who read Musk's tweets know for sure it was about Unsworth? The jury decided that the person couldn't and based their decision mainly on that. They were unanimous on this and moved quickly once establishing (less than an hour).

@RMac18
Musk's defense team led made it a clear argument that Musk's "pedo guy" tweet never mentioned Unsworth by name. That ended up being the key.

@RMac18
None of these jurors followed Musk on Twitter and it's not even clear if they have Twitter accounts.

The decision also underscores how there's a world online where stuff happens that real world people have no idea about.

@RMac18
And there it is. The perfect description.

[...]

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Response to sl8 (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 02:09 PM

20. So, although Musk did mean Unsworth, loads of people knew at once

eg a blue-ticked Atlantic writer replying to Musk on the day:


?lang=en

and Musk subsequently hired a private eye to investigate Unsworth and called him a "child rapist", a 'reasonable person' wouldn't have known it was about him?

What bullshit.

And, as Musk's tweets on the day show, he'd identified Unsworth as a "British expat guy who lives in Thailand" and called that "sus", even before the 'pedo guy' comment. "Pedo guy" was not just an insult - it was part of the character assassination. See https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/remysmidt/elon-musk-attacks-diver-who-helped-rescue-thai-boys , which has screen shots of the tweets.

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Response to sl8 (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 7, 2019, 06:41 PM

21. Sounds like the trial was lost during jury selection.

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Response to mysteryowl (Original post)

Thu Dec 12, 2019, 03:11 PM

23. This just in: English words like 'defame' don't mean ... well, anything ... anymore

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