Los Angeles (AFP)

Elon Musk, boss of automaker Tesla, assured Monday that he was not targeting the morals of a British spelunker when he qualified on Twitter pedophile, which is now defending him for defamation.

The whimsical billionaire is the subject of a lawsuit launched in Los Angeles by Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue Thai children stuck in a cave in the summer of 2018.

Following a media quarrel, Elon Musk used the term "pedo" to refer to Vernon Unsworth, 64, who lives part of the year in Thailand.

In a document filed Monday in court, Elon Musk now ensures that the term "pedo guy" (literally "dude pedo") was a common insult during his adolescence in South Africa. "It's synonymous with + old man glaucous + and it's used to insult a person's appearance and behavior, not to accuse that person of pedophile acts," argues the boss of Tesla.

In the same document, however, Elon Musk quoted a private investigator whose services he had hired, according to which Mr. Unsworth married his Thai wife when she was still a teenager and would go to prostitution.

For British caver lawyer Lin Wood, these are "disgusting" maneuvers to "continue to dirty" his client "without any evidence". This motion by Elon Musk "insults the truth as well as the initial accusations of pedophilia, false and odious," he denounced in an email to AFP.

Elon Musk lashed out at Unsworth after he called a "publicity stunt" the failed offer by the boss of Tesla to send a miniature submarine to help rescue 12 young football players. coach, trapped by the rising waters as they explored a Thai cave. The youth remained stranded for two weeks before being evacuated after a large-scale international operation.

Faced with the outcry provoked by his comments on Twitter, Elon Musk had apologized to the spelunker and erased the offensive messages.

But the speleologist believes that this is not enough. He filed a complaint in September 2018 and claims a minimum of $ 75,000 in damages.

Unless amicably settled by then, the case should go to trial on December 2nd.

© 2019 AFP