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British caver says he approached by U.S., British lawyers over Musk's comments

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British caver says he approached by U.S., British lawyers over Musk's comments

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre

 

Elon Musk.JPG

FILE PHOTO: SpaceX founder Elon Musk pauses at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

 

MAE SAI, Thailand (Reuters) - A British caver who helped rescue 12 boys from a Thai cave said on Tuesday that he has been approached by British and American lawyers and will seek legal advice after Tesla CEO Elon Musk directed abuse at him on Twitter.

 

"I've been approached by British lawyers, American lawyers. I haven't decided what to do next yet," Vern Unsworth told Reuters in Mae Sai town in Chiang Rai province, about 3 km (2 miles) from the cave where the boys and their coach were trapped for 18 days.

 

However, Unsworth has said he is considering legal action against the billionaire entrepreneur, who is chief executive of the electric car maker Tesla Inc.

 

"I can't let it go. There's too much out there already," Unsworth told Reuters in an interview. Asked which law firm he would hire, he said: "I don't know yet. I have to take advice."

 

Unsworth declined to identify who had approached him.

 

Tesla spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Musk could not be reached for comment.

 

Musk's spat with Unsworth started last week, after rescue teams rejected Musk's offer of a mini-submarine created by his rocket company SpaceX to help extract the youth soccer team and the coach from the labyrinth of partly flooded passages.

 

"It just has absolutely no chance of working," CNN quoted Unsworth as saying about the submarine.

 

Musk responded on Twitter on Sunday saying: "We will make one (video) of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problem. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it."

 

The Tweet was later deleted.

 

Unsworth said he hadn't flatly denied Musk's accusation because he was waiting for legal advice.

 

Asked why he thought Musk would make such a comment about him, he said: "I don't know."

 

A police officer in the Chiang Rai, where Unsworth has lived for seven years, said that no charges or complaints had ever been filed against Unsworth. The officer declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

 

FAMILY UPSET

Unsworth, 63, said he hadn't actually met Musk face to face when Musk visited the cave during the rescue.

 

He said he felt sorry that the squabble with Musk had detracted from the successful end to the rescue mission.

 

"It's taken a bit of the pleasure out of what's happened, what we've achieved, for me anyway," he said, adding that it had upset his ex-wife and daughter back in Britain. "It's very much upset my daughter," the caver said, his voice breaking.

 

Shares of Tesla Inc fell more than 3.5 percent on Monday, knocking almost $2 billion off the company's market value.

 

Several analysts and investors, requesting anonymity, told Reuters that Musk's comments were adding to their concerns that his public statements were distracting him from Tesla's main business of producing electric cars.

 

The "Wild Boar" team were rescued last week by a group of foreign and Thai divers through a network of narrow passages and chambers. The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach are expected to leave hospital on Wednesday.

 

Unsworth was the first foreigner called to the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand after relatives noticed the boys had not come out after setting out to explore the cave complex on June 23 following soccer practice.

 

He said he has lost count of how many times he has been inside the 10-km (6-mile) long Tham Luang cave.

 

"It has been my third home for the past six years," he said.

 

Two British divers who were asked by Unsworth to join the mission were the first to discover the boys.

 

Unsworth said he brought his knowledge about the cave to the rescue mission but added that he "no idea" what the diving conditions were like because he is not a cave diver.

 

He said he will fly from Thailand to London on Thursday, where he will stay for around three weeks.

 

(Editing by John Chalmers and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-07-18

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Go with the US ones, they will sting him a lot harder, half a million US is the going rate for libel, and that's without a gobby unlikeable billionaire being involved.

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Be interesting to see some informed legal opinions on the likely success or otherwise of him proceeding. 

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1 hour ago, rwdrwdrwd said:

Go with the US ones, they will sting him a lot harder, half a million US is the going rate for libel, and that's without a gobby unlikeable billionaire being involved.

Those libel cases probably absent requiring proof of malice which might not be the case in USA for Mr. Unsworth.

 

... and at least in California, where Mr. Musk has employed 10+ thousands of persons at his various ventures with further ripple economic effects, he may not be so unlikable as you suggest.

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1 hour ago, JLCrab said:

Those libel cases probably absent requiring proof of malice which might not be the case in USA for Mr. Unsworth.

Proof of malice???

Calling him a paedo wasn't exactly an act of benevolence

 

"Here, take this 9mm between the eyes as an olive branch"

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To me this stupid. How can someone say something negative about the company and workers that work there and get away with it? And when it is responded to that accusation, get all frustrated and threaten to take legal actions. Musk responded and that was normal human reaction. The thing "pedo" is a bit much but I do understand him. 

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fer  <deleted>  sake why dont you and  him just apologise to each other, turning something good  now into a  stupid  squabble and in PRIVATE

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Apparently Vern Unsworth is taking advice from the British law firm Grabbit & Run, his contact there being Sue Ellen.

 

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26 minutes ago, grumbleweed said:

Proof of malice???

Calling him a paedo wasn't exactly an act of benevolence

 

"Here, take this 9mm between the eyes as an olive branch"

'Malice' is a legal term in libel cases in California and other US states.

 

And to Mr. Kannot above, there is a big difference as to what can be negotiated between the two parties before any legal charges are filed and how that situation must be handled after formal legal charges have been filed.

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17 minutes ago, DinoSabanovic said:

The thing "pedo" is a bit much but I do understand him. 

So, you would be perfectly happy if someone rich and famous declared to the whole world that you are a "pedo" just because you stated that the contraption you designed would not work, albeit with a sad choice of words, even though you physically had been where the contraption was supposed to go and that rich person or any of his staff had not, which would make you better qualified than the rich person and any of his so called experts?

There was a huge difference between the two statements and unless Mr. Musk has any foundation to back up his statement, which I seriously doubt, then he should be penalised, one way or another, these kind of statements can ruin somebody's life, Vern's statement would come nowhere near to ruining Musk's life, his huge ego yes, life nope!

The other difference is that NONE of the volunteer rescuers did any of what they did for publicity or profit, in fact most shunned publicity, Musk did what he did ONLY for the publicity and the potential profiteering later on, the man is a sorry human being IMHO.

 

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8 minutes ago, DinoSabanovic said:

To me this stupid. How can someone say something negative about the company and workers that work there and get away with it? And when it is responded to that accusation, get all frustrated and threaten to take legal actions. Musk responded and that was normal human reaction. The thing "pedo" is a bit much but I do understand him. 

What are you talking about? He didn't say something negative about Musk's company or its workers other than that Musk's mini-submarine idea had no chance of working. For upsetting this <deleted>'s fragile ego he is accused of being a pedophile? You think that's a normal human reaction? No, it's not normal, it is called slander.

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5 minutes ago, JLCrab said:

'Malice' is a legal term in libel cases in California.

 

And to Mr. Kannot above, there is a big difference as to what can be negotiated between the two parties before any legal charges are filed and how that situation must be handled after formal legal charges have been filed.

and have they been  filed?

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13 hours ago, kannot said:

fer  <deleted>  sake why dont you and  him just apologise to each other, turning something good  now into a  stupid  squabble

I think the only apology due is from Musk.

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2 minutes ago, Mattd said:

So, you would be perfectly happy if someone rich and famous declared to the whole world that you are a "pedo" just because you stated that the contraption you designed would not work, albeit with a sad choice of words, even though you physically had been where the contraption was supposed to go and that rich person or any of his staff had not, which would make you better qualified than the rich person any of his so called experts?

There was a huge difference between the two statements and unless Mr. Musk has any foundation to back up his statement, which I seriously doubt, then he should be penalised, one way or another, these kind of statements can ruin somebody's life, Vern's statement would come nowhere near to ruining Musk's life, his huge ego yes, life nope!

The other difference is that NONE of the volunteer rescuers did any of what they did for publicity or profit, in fact most shunned publicity, Musk did what he did ONLY for the publicity and the potential profiteering later on, the man is a sorry human being IMHO.

 

Its  pretty clear to any sane person he isnt a paedophile his life wont be ruined it will be even more respected and even more so if  he  just lets it go

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3 minutes ago, kannot said:

and have they been  filed?

I do not believe as of 18 JULY 7:30 AM BKK time any legal charges have been filed in either US or UK.

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