In defamation case, Elon Musk will testify that "pedo guy" is a common South African phrase and not an accusation of pedophilia

Vernon Unsworth is one of the rescue divers who helped free the children who'd been stuck in a cave in Thailand; Unsworth made some pointed remarks about the disutility of Elon Musk's proposal to bring the children out in a miniature sub, to which Musk replied by publicly calling Unsworth "pedo guy" and "child rapist" and then daring Unworth to sue him.

Unsworth has sued him.

Now, Musk's lawyer has announced the Musk will take the stand in the case.

Based on statements by Musk's lawyer, Alexander Spiro, Musk appears to be set to defend himself on the basis that calling someone "pedo guy" and "child rapist" is not the same thing as accusing them of being a pedophile or child rapist. Musk argues that "pedo guy" is a common insult in his native South Africa and should not be considered to be a statement of fact.

Musk had argued that Unsworth became a public figure because of his help with the high-profile rescue and needed to prove "actual malice."

Musk has apologized for the "pedo guy" comment, saying it was a common insult in South Africa where he was raised, and that he did not intend to accuse Unsworth of pedophilia.

Unsworth has denied the allegations and has said he had shared a house in the Thailand countryside with a 40-year-old woman who owned a nail salon.

Musk to Testify in Own Defense in Defamation Trial, His Lawyer Says [Rachel Parsons, Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney/Reuters]

(Thanks, Kathy Padilla!)

(Image: Duncan.Hull, CC BY-SA, modified)