Elon Musk says his 'pedo guy' remark wasn't about pedophilia

The phrase means something different to the Tesla CEO, his attorneys say in a filing.

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2 min read
Elon Musk

Attorneys for Tesla CEO Elon Musk say his tweets last year, in which he called a British diver a "pedo guy," weren't defamatory. 

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Elon Musk says he has a different understanding of what "pedo guy" means, according to a Monday court filing. Attorneys representing the Tesla CEO are seeking a summary judgment to have a case involving him and a British diver, whom Musk called a "pedo guy" in a tweet last year, dismissed by US District Judge Stephen Wilson.   

Musks' attorney argues the CEO's tweets weren't defamatory, saying, "The term 'pedo guy' was a common insult used during Mr. Musk's youth in South Africa, which he understood was synonymous with 'creepy old man' and aimed at insulting one's appearance and demeanor," the filing says. "The term 'pedo guy' as used and understood by Mr. Musk is not an accusation of acts of pedophilia."

In July, Musk called Vernon Unsworth, a diver who helped rescue a boys soccer team trapped in a Thai cave, a "pedo guy" on Twitter after the diver criticized Musk's proposed submarine rescue plan. Unsworth sued Musk in September for defamation.

In May, Wilson denied Musk's attempt to dismiss the case. A hearing is currently set for Oct. 28.

Musk also hired a private investigator to "conduct an investigation of Mr. Unsworth in the United Kingdom and Thailand on Mr. Musk's behalf," according to the filing. Forbes earlier reported the news.

Representatives for Musk had no further comment. 

Lin Wood, lead counsel for Unsworth, told CNET in a statement, "The motion filed by Elon Musk today is a disgusting and transparent effort to continue falsely smearing Vernon Unsworth without any credible or verified supporting evidence."

You can read the filing here:

Originally published Sept. 16, 3:26 p.m. PT.
Update, 3:56 p.m. PT: Embeds filing. 
Update, 4:40 p.m. PT: Adds that representatives for Musk had no further comment. 
Update, 5:27 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Lin Wood, lead counsel for Unsworth.

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